This morning as the Outer East Branch Convener of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) I attended the Outer East MP’s 2005 Budget Breakfast.
The keynote speaker was the Treasurer John Brumby who presented an overview of the current Victorian State Budget and its implications for the outer east.
While obviously a number of issues needed to be explored, public transport was provided with just a passing glance. With a total of twelve urban areas being targeted; the paltry sum of $11.25 provided per year from this budget will amount to very little real tangible improvement.
Time was made available for public questions and Pam Usher from the bus operator Invicta stated the need for improved bus services and the need substantial funding to reduce the chronic degree of social isolation that occurs in the outer east, particularly with our youth, our elderly and residents with disabilities.
I also asked a public question, querying what direct actionable results will be provided to ensure an increase in public transport modal share, considering that the modal share of public transport has remained static at 9% for the previous three years.
A whole of government approach consisting of Treasury, Transport and Planning portfolios is required to ensure progress towards the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by the year 2020.
John Brumby did acknowledge the need for further public transport improvements and did mention that next year’s budget might be more positive. While such statements have been made previously it can only be hoped that the government will finally deliver the fundamental bus reforms and improvements that are so urgently required for Melbourne’s outer east.