Rowville located within Melbourne’s outer east has a history of being long neglected in regard to the provision of public transport. Despite Rowville’s current situation as a public transport wasteland historically this was not supposed to be the case with plans for the construction of the Rowville rail line first proposed in 1969 via an extension from either Glen Waverley or Huntingdale.
While the John Cain government sold the reservation beyond the Glen Waverley line, the reservation to Rowville via Huntingdale still exists within the Wellington Road median.
In 1999 the then Bracks Opposition promised as part of its commitment to the outer east to “address the fixed infrastructure requirements for the region and in particular identify a preferred train route to Rowville via Glen Waverley or Huntingdale” (Rebuilding a Transport Network, Labor’s Plan, 1999). Six years later the Bracks Government has still failed to deliver a feasibility study into the Rowville rail line.
Due to continued inaction from the State Government Knox City Council conducted a pre-feasibility study into the Rowville rail line in 2004. The study found that the line was feasible and could be constructed from Huntingdale with very little land acquisition.
This Sunday the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), Environment Victoria (EV) and Knox Environment Society (KES) held a free screening of the documentary the End of Suburbia which explores the consequences of a limited oil supply which is resulting in rising petrol prices and the corresponding financial hardship on suburban life.
With just under 100 people in attendance it is clear that the Rowville community is demanding better public transport to alleviate car dependence and social isolation.
The State Government must not continue to bury its head in the sand and ignore the needs of outer metropolitan Melbourne.
It is time to deliver real results and substantial public transport improvements to Melbourne’s outer suburbs.