Thanks for coming along today for what is
a really important announcement, a critically important announcement indeed about the Melbourne
Metro Rail Project. Five new underground stations, 9 kilometres
of track, a train system where you don’t need a timetable, where you can turn up and
go. That’s what’s most important, this is London, New York, Paris, Tokyo-style public
transport. As you know just a few months ago we announced
that we would bring forward $40 million of planning works, set up a dedicated Melbourne
Metro Rail Authority to give us the focus and to get on with it. That was an important
announcement then, but today is an even more important announcement because we can today
announce, after significant work, much work considering each different alignment we have
decided on the advice of the experts that the Swanston St alignment will be the alignment
for the Melbourne Metro Rail tunnels. The second announcement that we make today
is that this tunnel will be at a depth of 10 metres, not what was talked about – but
was an option – but needed to be considered, and that’s a depth of 40 metres.
Now to put it another way, the tunnel will run above the current city loop, above the
CityLink tunnels, that means it can be delivered cheaper.
There are significant benefits in terms of safety, and just the passenger experience
– to have to do down the equivalent of 12 storeys to get into one of these or perhaps
all of these five stations… that was not an option we have gone with.
We’ve instead nominated the Swanston St alignment and the 10-metre depth, and what
that now means is that the heavy duty planning, the really significant planning can now begin,
and of course the faster you start that the faster you can get onto the ground and start
delivering this project in earnest. We’ll have more to say about Melbourne Metro
Rail in the budget in a few weeks time. Jacinta Allan – Minister for Public Transport
Back in February we announced that we were bringing forward $40 million to establish
the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and they’ve been doing a tremendous amount of work since
then that brings us to today’s announcement. And based on the best advice, we’re pushing
forwarded with the Swanston St alignment for reasons that the Premier outlined. It’s
the better outcome for passengers, passengers will have easier access from the ground into
the underground stations. It’s better in terms of safety and emergency
access as well. Today’s announcement is important because we can take the big next
steps, which is around consulting very carefully with the traders, with the communities of
interest along the preferred alignment. So there’s a lot more work to be done as
we push towards the release of the expression of interest for this project in 2016.
It is so important to address passenger needs on our public transport system, to address
congestion issues in our CBD. It’s a project we need and that’s why we’re pushing on
with it with today’s announcement.