Albanese pledges $2.2 billion boost for Melbourne’s new train network Suburban Rail Loop

Speaking in Box Hill in Melbourne’s east, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said if he is elected as prime minister on May 21 his government will contribute the cash to Melbourne’s future Suburban Rail Loop.

“I can’t think of a more exciting infrastructure project in the entire nation and that’s why federal Labor will contribute an initial contribution of $2.2 billion to this project,” he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese made the announcement in Box Hill. (9News)

“This project will transform the way that Melburnians can get around this city.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews thanked Albanese for the commitment to one of his government’s signature projects.

“I am so pleased and so grateful that this project has been a priority for Anthony, for federal Labor, and with this $2.2 billion partnership, we will get this done,” he said.

Andrews said there was already significant funding in place for the project, with early work to build the train line to begin at the end of the year.

The new rail network, which will use underground tunnels to connect all existing major rail lines with Doncaster and the airport, is not due to open until 2036.

Planned stops include Cheltenham, Glen Waverley, Box Hill, Doncaster, Bundoora, Heidelberg, Melbourne Airport, and Werribee.

The Suburban Rail Loop will encircle Melbourne. (Nine)

When asked about a Labor federal government previously slating up to $10 billion for the Suburban Rail Loop, Albanese said his $2.2 billion commitment “should give the Victorian Government confidence that they’ll have a partner with the national government”.

“This is a project that will go for a long period of time,” he said.

Albanese then got into a heated back and forth with a journalist when queried about the Suburban Rail Loop project not being on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list.

Albanese tried to speak about the Coalition’s commuter car parks scandal, and when cut off, responded: “You’ve asked your question. You get to ask it, I get to answer it. That’s how these things work.”

He said the model of Infrastructure Australia had been undermined.

The train line will intersect with the existing line in Box Hill. (The Age)

When asked if he thought Victoria would get more money out of Scott Morrison or Albanese as prime minister, Andrews said the record was “very clear”.

“Every federal dollar that Victorians get from the miserable Morrison Government, we ought to bow our head and treat it like it’s foreign aid,” he said.

“We have been ripped off by this Liberal-National government, and instead of Mr Morrison talking about the issue, he ought to have been here delivering for Victorian workers and families.

“I’ve had a conversation with the prime minister about the Suburban Rail Loop, and zero dollars. Zero dollars.

“The contrast could not be clearer.”

Albanese followed up by saying he wanted to work “with all premiers constructively”.

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