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Governments relieved as Melbourne Airport scraps station demand

written by Jake Nelson | July 8, 2024

An artist’s render of the high capacity metro trains planned to service Melbourne Airport. (Image: Rail Projects Victoria)

The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have welcomed Melbourne Airport’s decision to back down on its demand for an underground train station.

The airport, which had pushed for an underground option over the state government’s preferred above-ground solution, said this week that it would support the above-ground station following the recommendation by Commonwealth-appointed mediator Neil Scales.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said that while the government cannot “wish away” the years spent in deadlocked negotiations over the station design, she is pleased that the airport has now relented.

“The consequence of the unreasonable position that has been taken for a number of years now is that this project has been delayed by four years,” she said.

“We have been trying for years to negotiate with the airport, we needed their approval to be able to get into the airport footprint itself to be able to do early works or site investigations, we haven’t been able to do that.

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“We are pleased to see now that the airport has acknowledged that their unreasonable demand for an underground station doesn’t stack up, and we will now work with the two other project partners, those being the airport and of course the Commonwealth.”

A spokesperson for the Federal Government said the decision will allow all parties to “get on with the job” of building the rail link.

“The report from the Commonwealth-appointed independent mediator, Neil Scales, made it clear the project was viable and necessary, and that there was unanimous support for it,” the spokesperson said.

“We have encouraged the parties to work to resolve the station location and we are pleased to see progress on this front.

“The Albanese Government has already committed $5 billion to Melbourne Airport Rail and we look forward to taking the next steps to bring this long-awaited project to reality.”

The state government this month moved to acquire land for the future Keilor East station on the rail link, which will serve Keilor East and the Airport West precinct.

The airport link will connect to the rest of the Melbourne train network at Sunshine Station, which will be overhauled to accommodate the extra services.

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