Any plan to shelve the Suburban Rail Loop could shake industry confidence in Victoria’s infrastructure pipeline and lead to poorer outcomes for public transport users according to the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).
ARA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the construction and delivery of the Suburban Rail Loop would create a long-term pipeline of work, generate thousands of local jobs and help train the next generation of skilled workers in Victoria.
“The rail industry needs certainty to attract and retain skilled workers to support the successful delivery of transformational projects like the Suburban Rail Loop,” Ms Wilkie said.
“Having a clear pipeline of upcoming projects is vital, particularly with the significant number of major infrastructure projects underway or planned across the country.
“Stopping a key project like this when early works have already started would set a worrying precedent that could see industry and Victoria’s skilled workers look to other states in the future.”
The project is expected to create up to 24,000 jobs during construction, highlighting the essential role the project will play in supporting Victoria’s economy.
Ms Wilkie said the Suburban Rail Loop was also a transformational project for Victoria’s public transport system which will deliver enormous social, environmental and jobs creation benefits for all Victorians.
“Once complete, the 90km orbital rail line is projected to improve travel efficiency for more than 80 per cent of Melburnians,” Ms Wilkie said.
“This will take 600,000 cars off the road each day and slash travel times for the people of Melbourne and its regional centres, making it easier for them to get to work, education and essential services.”
The project is also expected to generate new growth opportunities around station precincts, supporting the city’s sustainable development and improving access to essential services outside of the city centre.