Media Release - Brimbank to State: Keep airport rail promises on track

Brimbank Council urges the State Government to re-affirm its commitment to transform Sunshine Station as a Super Hub, redeveloped inside and out as a catalyst to private investment and local employment.

Council is also calling on the State Government to reconsider plans for a flyover through Albion as part of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL).

A State Government press release published last weekend foreshadows a significantly reduced scope of works for the landmark rail project, compared with promises made by the Premier and Transport Minister when the project was announced in Sunshine in 2018.

Brimbank Council will write to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, the Hon. Jacinta Allan, requesting a briefing on the intentions and detail for the immediate and longer terms of the project and related works.

When the project was announced, Premier Dan Andrews said that Sunshine would have a “much-expanded station, a much bigger station” that would include residential and retail development.

“There will need to be a really big redevelopment here,” said the Premier. “The really exciting part is this could include retail, housing, all sorts of different options. We can create one of those brand new spaces if you like, and see a real boom for this area from economic activity.”

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said “there will need to be a significant redevelopment of the Sunshine area. It will, if you like, become another Southern Cross station.”

However the scope of works released this week include only a new accessible pedestrian concourse, extra lifts, ticketing gates and weather-protected platform extensions. This watered down proposal is a far cry from the “really big redevelopment” promised, and the investment needed to support Brimbank’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Council also expressed concern that the project’s planned flyover through Albion failed to unlock development opportunities, integrate the station into the surrounding precinct or acknowledge the heritage value of Albion’s nearby Darling Flour Mill.

In April this year, Council endorsed the Sunshine Priority Precinct Vision 2050 to transform the area into a 21st century city through leveraging the Melbourne Airport Rail and other mega infrastructure investment.

To achieve this vision the Melbourne Airport Rail mustn’t just funnel tourists and business people between the airport and other centres. 

Please attribute quotes to Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic:

“Back in 2018, Premier Dan Andrews and Transport Minister Jacinta Allen came to Sunshine and promised that this would be a transformative project with significant benefit for the local community.

“It now seems that this $13 billion project is just about funnelling tourists and business people between the CBD and the airport, which the Premier promised he would not do.

“Instead of making Sunshine a destination, Sunshine is being made a turnstile – while Albion is literally being overpassed and opportunities thrown into shadow.

“We are deeply concerned that this project is about commuters, not community, and we call on the State Government not to pass by this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the West.

“Our community is still reeling from the ongoing effects of this pandemic, including job losses and significant economic impacts on local businesses. Getting city-shaping projects such as this right will be critical to helping our community recover.”