The Bracks Government’s sixth budget claimed to hold the overall theme of making Victoria A Fairer Place To Be yet while small amounts of funding was allocated for public transport many areas will still remain isolated.
Why was there no announcement towards new public transport infrastructure including the Doncaster Road tram extension (supported by both Boroondara and Manningham Councils) and an honouring of the promises previously made to deliver the full Knox tram extension and the third track to Ringwood?
How can it be claimed that this budget will make Victoria a fairer place to be when general bus service improvements were only allocated $45 million over four years (a mere $11.25 million per year)?
Why must residents of the outer east be kept waiting three years just to enjoy evening and public holiday services to Knox City Shopping Centre as part of the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, despite the fact that such improvements could be introduced almost immediately?
Where are the Sunday or evening bus services along our major roads which are required to make Melbourne’s Outer East ‘a fairer place to be’? Bus industry analysts, including the Bus Association of Victoria (BAV) and the Public Transport Users Association (PTU)A estimated that $65 million per annum was required to provide transport choice for the bus dependent parts of Melbourne.
Two-thirds of Melbourne live beyond the rail network and these are the areas that often fail to have Sunday or evening bus services — only 18% of all buses run on a Sunday and even less provide services after 7:00 pm.
These areas are the parts of Melbourne that have been hardest hit by rising petrol prices because public transport is not readily available. The mere $11 million provided by the government will do very little in making Victoria a fairer place to be and will instead continue to condemn many households to continued car dependence and excessive transport expenditure, money that often amounts up to one fifth of a household’s income.
Much more needs to be done before this government can claim to have made a Victoria ‘A Fairer Place To Be’.
Outer East Branch Convener
Public Transport Users Association