Media ReleasesSustainable Transport

Robert Doyle And EastLink Tolls

By September 16, 20054 Comments

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.



Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email:


  • Jeremy says:

    Doesn’t make sense how they’re offering to pay half the tolls, especially the way the media has taken it. It’s come out that they’ve reneged on their promise and nothing else. They would be better off forgetting about the whole idea and putting the money into much long awaited public transport improvements.

  • Peter says:

    And when the ‘half toll’ period expires and tolls double he’ll have another political problem on his hands (if he’s in power)!

    Interestingly the road’s builder opposes it (see the business section of one of today’s papers). So do the Nats, who don’t like subsidising city drivers.

    Taxis aren’t eligible for the ‘half-toll’, neither seems to be freight. Now wasn’t commercial traffic one of the key justifications for freeways?

    BTW, I notice that John Quiggin has gone on to advocate congestion charging as an alternative to tolls in his blog.


  • Alex Makin says:

    The Victorian Liberal Party must ensure that it focuses on providing more than just another roads policy as we enter the 2006 State Elections.

    Increasing public transport patronage as petrol prices are rising has demonstrated that Melbourne does in fact want a better public transport network. While better public transport particularly in Melbourne’s outer suburbs has been required for many years, it is now a necessity to ensure the mobility and continued economic prosperity of the outer east and outer Melbourne.

    Robert Doyle with his ‘no tolls’ policy would have received a much better public reaction if he had admitted that after much effort it was impossible to reverse the tolling decision and instead focused on differentiating the Opposition from the current Government.

    This could have easily been achieved by promising to reverse the broken public transport of the Bracks Labor Government. There is nothing stopping the rail extension to South Morang, the Knox tram extension or the third rail line to Ringwood except the unwillingness of the ALP to honour the very promises they vowed to deliver.


  • Harry says:

    Taxpayer’s money to pay 50% of roal toll can only encourage more cars to use the toll road and therefore more revenue for the toll operator. As taxpayers, we want alternatives to the toll road. We want better traffic management down Springvale Road by grade separation at Maroondah Highway. We want to get to the city quicker by having new rail lines to Doncaster and Rowville, and a third track to Ringwood for express trains.

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