The Victorian Government is providing $9.3 billion in funding towards major works on the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) to deliver twin rail tunnels and six underground stations, with the project expected to create up to 8,000 jobs.
The funding will also be invested in new community projects and initiatives in the broader areas around the stations.
Trains are expected to be running on SRL East by 2035, transforming Melbourne’s public transport network and better connecting people to jobs, health, education, retail opportunities and each other.
Fast, efficient, high-tech trains powered by renewables will provide a turn up and go service expected to carry around 70,000 passengers a day.
Commuters in Melbourne’s south east will experience much faster journeys on the underground line, saving up to an hour on a one-way trip. Trains will take three to four minutes between stations, and a journey from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be just 22 minutes.
Construction starts next year, with the Business and Investment case showing SRL East and SRL North is expected to deliver $58.7 billion in economic, social and environmental benefits, and support up to 24,000 local jobs.
The funding announcement provides certainty for project delivery and communities in Melbourne’s east and south east, paving the way for procurement of main works packages to start next year, and comes on top of the $2.5 billion already provided for planning and development of SRL and for Initial and Early Works on SRL East.
The Government will continue to work with the Commonwealth and the private sector as this project progresses, with the creation of significant value capture opportunities as the build progresses.
The contract for this first phase of works, expected to create up to 8,000 direct jobs, has been awarded to global construction and engineering firm Laing O’Rourke, which has agreed to exceed workforce and local content targets.
The huge package of works includes preparing sites for the launch of tunnel boring machines, moving and protecting underground services, ground improvement, geotechnical investigations and road modifications.
The contract offers exciting opportunities for local industry and suppliers, including delivering in excess of 95 per cent local content.
Around 14 per cent of the total hours will be undertaken by Victorian apprentices, trainees or cadets, with opportunities for women, Aboriginal and disadvantaged Victorians – contributing to the next generation of highly skilled workers.
Suburban Rail Loop Minister, Jacinta Allan, said, “We’re not wasting a minute on this vital project which will play a big role in our economic recovery.
“We’ve signed the contract to deliver Initial and Early Works on SRL East and we’ll be in the ground next year with up to 800 early jobs created.”
Laing O’Rourke Australia Managing Director, Cathal O’Rourke, said “Laing O’Rourke is delighted to partner with the Victorian Government to deliver the SRL Initial Works and Early Works.
“As well as clearing the way for the main works, we will also provide new opportunities for Victorians to be involved in this city-shaping project and we appreciate the trust placed in us to deliver great outcomes for the community.”