‘We will need more money’ to fix North East train line: Cathy McGowan

As plans for how the promised $100 million will be spent to fix the North East rail line are being finalised, there are still fears the money will not be enough.

Indi MP Cathy McGowan says she hoped plans would just be the first step, with more funding to come, allowing the project to get started.

Australian Rail Track Corporation has sent its proposed scope of works to the Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology for “peer review” before a draft is released to the public.

“We think we’re at a place where there’s agreement on how the $100 million should be spent,” Ms McGowan said.

“What we’ve designed now is a bit more of a transparent process and we’ll all get to have a look at the scope of works before they start – I think that will solve some of the problems.

“I think we will need more money, but I think we’ve got to get started now and see where this money goes to.”

Department of Infrastructure secretary Mike Mrdak and Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan have also expressed concerns the federal government funding would fall short.

“I’m hoping in this scope of works, when it’s made public, they’ll (separate the plans into) stage 1, stage 2 and the maintenance,” Ms McGowan said.

She met with representatives from ARTC and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce’s office over summer – before they were embroiled in the scandal over his affair and new partner’s pregnancy.

“The next important piece of work is to call on Daniel Andrews to come through on his commitment to make the announcement of funding trains,” she said.

“We’ve asked Barnaby Joyce now to make a specific request to the Victorian government to make announcement on how they’re going to start the rolling stock.”