Thank you, I will be tabling my written report but there are three items I wish to expand upon in further detail:
The first is Maroondah’s Scoot Wheel N Move initiative, which included a community update on Friday the 18th of August. Scoot Wheel N Move consists of three programs including an information booklet, mobility improvements to Eastland and an Accessibility Expo. These three programs aim to improve the awareness of accessibility issues surrounding forms of personal transport such as wheelchairs and motorised scooters. Scoot Wheel N Move operates in partnership with the community and I am pleased to state that all three programs are progressing extremely well. The Accessibility Expo, which is scheduled for December, is looking particularly impressive, as it will contain not just accessibility equipment suppliers but also a number of information sessions on mobility issues.
I also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Heatherdale Community Action Group on its recent incorporation and the holding of its first Annual General Meeting. I look forward to ongoing contact with the Group and its newly appointed committee.
The final element I wish to report on is the Eastern Transport Coalition and its meeting on the 17th of August. The ETC is a coalition of seven outer eastern councils including Maroondah that are united in demanding better public transport for the outer east.
While public transport service improvements are urgently required it is also necessary to look at the pricing structure to ensure that public transport is competitive with car travel. With the existence of zone three serving the sole purpose of taxing outer eastern public transport users councils are united in the call for reform of public transport fares.
The arbitrary nature of zones two and three means that Hurstbridge, which located in zone two, is located further away from the CBD than Ringwood or even Belgrave which in zone three.
This baseless boundary that places Ringwood in zone three is inconsistent with aims to encourage public transport usage within the Ringwood Transit City. Furthermore the fact that zone two ends at Heatherdale results in costly traffic congestion through the centre of Ringwood as people choose to park at Heatherdale Station (zone two). This results in unnatural and unnecessary demand for parking and adversely impacts the amenity of Heatherdale simply due to arbitrary zone boundaries.
This issue is in alignment with Maroondah’s Integrated Transport Strategy, which identified the need to adjust the zone three boundary, given the disincentive this creates for public transport travel and the financial burden it places on Maroondah residents.
For example as highlighted in Maroondah’s Integrated Transport Strategy a yearly public transport costs almost $2000 and zone three places an additional burden on eastern Melbourne that is not shared by the western and northern suburbs.
The Eastern Transport Coalition will be mounting a campaign on this issue over the coming months.