Airport Rail Link mediator recommends way forward

The Albanese Government has received the mediator’s report for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

Mediator, Neil Scales, reported that the project remains viable and necessary, and has support from the Australian and Victorian Governments, Melbourne Airport operator APAM, and the public. He also reported that it is possible to find a solution to the location of the station at Melbourne Airport.

The report made three main recommendations, including that the Commonwealth and Victorian Government proceed with “no regrets” work at Sunshine Station to transform it into a major transport hub and capitalise on the early works already completed for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

The Commonwealth will commence discussions with the Victorian Government on the proposal to upgrade capacity at Sunshine Station, with funding to be formally considered once costs and scope are finalised.

The report recommended that refreshed modelling work be undertaken on the timeline for capacity of Tullamarine Freeway. I have instructed my Department to scope this work. 

The mediation process was undertaken to determine if a resolution is possible between the Victorian Government and the operator of Melbourne Airport as to the location of the station.

The report recommended against further Commonwealth and state consideration of an underground option at this time. Should APAM wish to progress with the option of an underground station, it recommended that they produce a suitable and comprehensive business case, so that key stakeholders can examine the proposal in detail.

We have shared the report with both parties, and my Department has offered to provide further briefings on the report’s findings.

We encourage the parties to consider the report recommendations and to work constructively together to determine next steps to progress this important project.