Deputy Premier outlines vision for Victoria

22 July 2022

Victoria’s new Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan says Victoria’s raft of transport infrastructure projects will leave a lasting legacy for the state.

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Ms Allan was speaking at a lunch hosted by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bendigo attended by local business leaders. 

Only the second woman to become Deputy Premier, Ms Allan is also Minister for Transport Infrastructure, the Suburban Rail Loop and the delivery of the 2026 Commonwealth Games. 

She said she was focused on delivering improved road and rail infrastructure that will leave a “lasting legacy” in the state. In particular, she was excited by the prospect of the Metro Tunnel in unlocking capacity at heart of the network to run more services and building connectivity with the regions.  

For example, residents from Bendigo will be able to get to Southern Cross station but also connect at Sunshine station and commute directly into precincts unlocked by the Metro Tunnel. 

That project will also add capacity for the future railway line to Melbourne Airport, which will also connect at Sunshine. It means Bendigo residents could be “one stop away” from the airport.  

Other projects such as the West Gate Tunnel will deliver better access to the Port of Melbourne.  “The legacy is about supplying better infrastructure and better connections,” she said. 

Addressing local business leaders at the Chamber’s first major regional event  since COVID-19 lockdowns, Ms Allan lauded the resilience of her local electorate as it emerged from the pandemic. 

She said the strength of the diversity of industry sectors helped strengthen Bendigo’s economy, which has among the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 3.2 per cent. While good news, it also acts as a “double-edged sword” for business and industry as it becomes difficult to find skilled workers in an internationally competitive market. 

Part of the solution is “investing in people”, Ms Allan said, through greater support for the region’s secondary and tertiary levels, including the local TAFE and La Trobe University. That helps open pathways in the community to those who struggle with intergenerational disadvantage. 

One major initiative set to benefit Bendigo – and regional Victoria – in years to come is the Commonwealth Games, with city to be one of the four regions to host events alongside Ballarat, Geelong and the La Trobe Valley. 

“The opportunity to host an elite sporting carnival doesn’t come along all that often. When the opportunity was presented we grabbed it with both hands,” she said. 

She said the Commonwealth Games will bring an estimated $3 billion return to state’s economy and the athlete villages will eventually be returned to the community and ease some of the pressure on housing, leaving a “strong and lasting legacy”. 

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