MEMBER for South West Coast Denis Napthine has called out city-centric politicians for weighing in on government issues without local knowledge.
Nanjing Night Net

Shadow Public Transport Minister Fiona Richardson revealed last week a letter from V/Line CEO Rob Barnett to Labor MP Geoff Howard had admitted there were not enough carriages or trains to service demands to regional centres, including Warrnambool.

She said the letter had blown the lid off the government’s repeated claims that all was fixed in Victoria’s public transport system.

Dr Napthine responded, saying Ms Richardson was out of touch with regional Victoria, as Warrnambool’s rail issues stemmed from decisions made by the previous government.

Ms Richardson last week said the Coalition government had failed to invest in new carriages for rolling stock capacity.

“Commuter frustration on the Warrnambool, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour, and Gippsland lines is rife with daily service delays and cancellations,” Ms Richardson said.

“The Liberals’ failure to invest in new regional V/Line carriages means that whenever a train is put out of action due to an animal strike, V/Line doesn’t have the rolling stock capacity to replace it and commuters suffer.”

But Dr Napthine said the criticisms were “typical comments from a city-centric politician who didn’t get into country Victoria enough.”

“This shows how absolutely out of touch Fiona Richardson is with rail services in south-west Victoria.

“She should know we can’t put additional services on the Warrnambool line until we rebuild a rail passing loop between Colac and Geelong to replace the one removed by the former Labor government.

“They were in government for 11 years and if there’s a shortage of rail stock in V/Line, the people of Victoria should blame the previous government that clearly did not invest in V/Line rolling stock.

“Ms Richardson should get out of inner-suburban Northcote and see the needs for investment in regional rail that was left behind by 11 years of neglect under her government.”

Dr Napthine said the government planned to shortly rebuild the passing loop between Colac and Geelong before looking at additional services.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.