Victorian voters are being courted with another 25 level crossing removals and wooed in the stables with extra cash for harness racing prize money, ahead of next month’s state election.
Crossings will go in Melbourne suburbs including Mont Albert, Surrey Hills, Chelsea, Moreland, Glen Huntly and Preston, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
“A re-elected Labor government will remove a further 25 deadly, congested level crossings taking to a total 75 … level crossings that will be removed by 2025,” he said on Sunday.
“These things need to go. They are deadly, they are congested, they are holding us back.”
Under the plan, the controversial “sky rail” will rise in Melbourne’s north with Mernda and Upfield lines to get the elevated tracks to remove the existing crossings.
Five crossings along the Frankston train line and three in Chelsea will be removed by lowering the track under the road instead of lifting it above roads.
“The 25 level crossings need to be removed to improve safety, reduce congestion, support communities that are looking to grow and connect to each other,” Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan told reporters.
The level crossing removal locations include:
* Mont Albert Road in Mont Albert
* Union Road in Surrey Hills
* Glen Huntly Road and Neerim Road in Glen Huntly
* Argyle Avenue, Chelsea Road and Swanpool Avenue in Chelsea
* Munro Street and Reynard Street in Coburg
* Oakover Road, Murray Road and Cramer Street in Preston
* Gap Road/Station Street in Sunbury
* Old Geelong Road in Hoppers Crossing
The additional removals are expected to cost $6.6 billion, with 11 more crossing locations due for removal as part of the program to be announced in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Labor dangled a $6 million prize boost for harness racing over two years in exchange for its re-election.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula pledged the cash over two years on Sunday night to grow the $600 harness racing industry in regional and suburban Victoria.
“With boosted prize money, a re-elected Labor government will ensure Victoria remains the premier harness racing state and that jobs and investment remain in Victoria and continue to grow,” he said in a statement.
Harness Racing Victoria chairman Dale Monteith said the money would increase the stakes across a range of classes, from restricted races right through to grand circuit.