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Media Release – Thursday, 15 September 2005
‘Half Hearted’ Policies Will Condemn Melbourne to Petrol Dependence
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has challenged the Victorian Liberal Party to pledge and deliver a comprehensive Transport Policy to ensure sustainable relief against mounting petrol prices.
“The Liberal Party must develop a Transport Policy that looks beyond the single issue of tolls on the Mitcham-Frankston Freeway and looks beyond endless road building”, PTUA spokesman and Ringwood resident Alex Makin said. “Rising petrol prices have resulted in increased public transport patronage demonstrating that people desperately need and want an alternative to car dependence”.
The construction and tolling of Eastlink was announced after the breaking of several key public transport promises in Melbourne’s east which have not yet been delivered by the Bracks Government.
“Melbourne needs a government with a vision to deliver improved public transport and hence ensure the future economic prosperity of Melbourne’s east and southeast”, Mr. Makin said. “The fact is that as petrol prices increase households have less disposable income for other purchases thus threatening the viability of the strong retail precincts that exist within Ringwood, Knox or Frankston”.
Petrol prices are likely to exceed $1.30 per litre by the end of the year with many experts predicting that they will keep climbing in the years ahead. This has renewed concerns about the lack of new rail and tram extensions and the poor level of service provided by Melbourne’s bus network, which often does not run during evenings or on Sundays. The construction of the Doncaster and Rowville train lines, the Knox and Doncaster Road tram extensions, the elimination of the Springvale Road level crossing, and a vastly improved bus network to ensure frequent and readily available services would cost less than $1 billion, far less than the estimates involved in reversing the tolling decision.
“Many public transport promises from the Bracks government have been either broken or radically diminished. It is therefore up to the Opposition to provide a genuine alternative and hence embrace the need for vastly improved public transport. The ‘no tolls’ policy and continued road building has the potential to neglect public transport and hence fail to secure the future social and economic prosperity of Melbourne and its outer eastern suburbs”, Mr. Makin concluded.
About the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):
Founded in 1976, the PTUA is the recognised consumer organisation representing passengers of public transport. The PTUA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation with no political affiliation, which lobbies governments and public transport authorities in the interest of all users of public transport.
ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES: ALEX MAKIN ON 0409 136 213