THE state government will not match the opposition’s pledge to electrify the Frankston line to Baxter.
Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke told The News he is concerned that the project could wipe out homes, land, and the historic Frankston signal box
“Before anyone decides on a project that potentially requires the bulldozing of hundreds of homes, destruction of 10 hectares of green wedge land, and the demolition of the 100-year-old Frankston signal box, a huge amount of community consultation should take place,” he said.
“I have people at my office asking me if their home is going to be bulldozed now. I’m not sure [the opposition] has had a look at the business case.”
The business case, completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, read that the electrification and duplication of the Frankston line to Baxter could cost $1.5 billion. The state opposition said that the project would cost $971 million when it announced it would build it in the next four years if elected.
Business lobby group Committee for Greater Frankston has been calling for the state government to pay for the Frankston line extension to Baxter for years. It says that a new report claiming that the Geelong region is set to receive more government money for infrastructure projects than Frankston in the next five years showed the need for urgent action.
The Urban Enterprise report, finalised in August, states that Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula has $6.2 billion in infrastructure projects in the pipeline over the next five years. The Frankston and Mornington Peninsula areas were measured as having a combined amount of $721 million.
Committee for Greater Frankston president Rod Evenden said Frankston is being “ripped off” compared to other areas.
“Geelong will receive 10 times more money per person for planned infrastructure even though both cities and their peninsulas have comparable economies and are similar distances from Melbourne,” Evenden said. “The disparity has been felt by the community for some time, but this report confirms the gap is now massive.”
Edbrooke disputed the findings of the report. “I’m not comparing us to other areas, but there’s been more investment here in the last four years than the last 40,” he said.
As well as money for Frankston Hospital and two stages of Chisholm TAFE “we have over $2 billion invested removing every level crossing”.