The Liberal Government must commit funds to make a start on its promised passenger rail service to Hobart’s northern suburbs, to reinvigorate the area and help in the COVID-19 recovery.
Labor MLC for Elwick Josh Willie said the government promised more than two years ago to deliver rail services within five years, but nothing has happened since.
“After the State and Federal Governments agreed to accelerate a City Deal for Hobart in 2018, the then Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding, promised to “pull out all stops” to get the passenger rail built within five years,” Mr Willie said.
“At the time, Mr Hidding said work would get underway immediately to activate the corridor, by fixing level crossings and platforms and getting the non-operation line ready for use.
“But, despite the City Deal containing $25 million for reducing congestion, including by activating the northern suburbs corridor, no money has been spent and nothing has been done.
“The government itself said passenger rail would be a game changer for residents and businesses in the northern suburbs, so why are the people of the northern suburbs still waiting for some action?
“Passenger rail would be a catalyst for rezoning and construction of affordable housing and business developments, would help ease Hobart’s traffic issues and would give the area’s businesses and residents a huge boost in both the economic and social recovery from COVID-19.
“That’s why Labor has included the project in its COVID-19 Recovery Package, which is designed to build a better and fairer Tasmania and get people back into jobs.
“A northern suburbs passenger rail service would create hundreds of jobs and unlock rezoning opportunities across the corridor, which would stimulate building and construction and increase housing supply.
“The benefits of a passenger rail service are clear for the people of the northern suburbs and the greater Hobart area.
“If the government has other ideas as a result of its latest transport consultant report, it should release the report explain what’s behind its lack of action.”
Josh Willie MLC
Labor Member for Elwick