Any rail strike threatens travel disruption and more supply chain chaos, two months before crucial midterm elections
Any rail strike threatens travel disruption and more supply chain chaos, two months before crucial midterm elections

The already intense talks for a rail connection to Melbourne Airport took a drastic turn when Tim Pallas, the treasurer of Victoria, hinted at the possibility of constructing a station at Avalon Airport, which is close to Geelong. This increase occurred only one day after the administration declared that the first project would be delayed by four years.

Pallas told reporters that "I'm no longer playing games" with the airport's operators in reaction to a four-year delay on the Melbourne Airport rail link. This delay has occurred despite a $5 billion pledge from the federal and state governments in 2020, The Guardian reported.

The sticking point was the private operators' demand for a more costly subterranean station and greater pay. Victoria's reevaluation of its high-speed rail objectives was probably influenced by frustration with the existing project's impasse. The Andrews administration may scrap the previously rejected Geelong Fast Rail project because of financial constraints. The possible postponement of the Geelong line's completion may harm the enhancements slated for Melbourne's western suburbs.

Hinting at a possible change in approach, Pallas said: "I'm getting increasingly concerned about whether or not as a state, we shouldn't be putting an each-way bet around Avalon [Airport] and starting to think about what they can do in terms of provisioning for our transport needs going forward," the treasurer said.

"They want it gold-plated, they want it underground – not even sure we have engineering advice that says we can do that – and they also effectively want us to compensate them for the disruption ... of building what is a massive asset."

Jago Dodson, director of CentreT's cUrban Research research, downplthetheir practicality of Pallas' ambitions. "Avalon Airport is about 40 minutes further away by rail from the CBD than Melbourne Airport and in terms of its location, it's very, very far away from the south-eastern suburbs. This suggests Pallas's comments were more of a provocation than a substantive policy proposal," he said.

"Its viability is probably marginal."

The third runway and "future-proof" train line that Melbourne Airport requests government clearance for are on hold because of disagreements about where to locate the station.