CATHY McGowan is challenging the major parties to commit to investing in rural and regional infrastructure, starting with the completion of the Melbourne-Sydney railway.
The independent candidate for Indi revealed her transport policy yesterday, as she and her campaign volunteers boarded a V/Line train from Wodonga to Benalla to spread the message.
She committed to being “a little terrier” in lobbying the federal and state governments to finish the much-delayed works on the railway line by Christmas.
Ms McGowan said in her consultations with the community, problems with the railway were a priority.
“There’s been a slippage in timelines, no one’s keeping a good eye on it and the advocacy work that we need for the people of Indi is not happening,” she said.
“We were promised the speed restrictions would be lifted by mid-year, and that hasn’t happened.”
Work has been under way on replacing the rail to standard gauge for more than five years. Defects found in the new tracks and potholes on the line affected construction, forcing trains to slow to 20km/h in some parts, and blowing the project cost out to almost $700 million.
A report into safety issues of the track due six months ago has yet to be tabled, with Indi MP Sophie Mirabella recently calling for it to be released before the election as “locals had waited too long”.
Yesterday, Ms McGowan said that report was expected to be released tomorrow.
She said the railway was “a complex issue” and she pledged to take on the role of advocate.