This evening’s Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) meeting included a discussion with Lynne Kosky, the Minister for Public Transport. While the chair of the ETC, Cr. Mick van de Vreede, met the Minister earlier this year, tonight’s meeting marked the first occasion where the Minister addressed the entire organisation.
Encouragingly the Minister acknowledged the current difficulties with Melbourne’s public transport system and in this regard the Minister stated that work is being undertaken to accelerate the projects listed within Meeting Our Transport Challenges. While this is welcome news the Minister did stop short of agreeing to undertake a detailed assessment of the infrastructure needs of the region., meaning that the detailed planning required to ensure the sustainability of Melbourne’s east is still sorely lacking.
I asked a question in regard to the State Government’s support for the Ringwood Transit City Project and the need for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station. The Minister replied that Ringwood is one of a number of projects supported through the Transit City initiative meaning that funding should hopefully be forthcoming. The redevelopment of Ringwood Station is critical to the success of the Transit City given that Council has invested heavily in the concept and is actively encouraging sustainable forms of transport through footpath construction with new developments. Likewise there is also a need to further improve the bus network so that public transport becomes the mode of choice within Transit Cities such as Ringwood.
While the Minister didn’t provide too many details, it was encouraging to see the establishment of dialogue between the ETC and the current Minister for Public Transport. The Eastern Transport Coalition will be pursuing a number of these issues in its submission to the Melbourne 2030 Audit. This will help ensure that these issues continue to be raised with the State Government.
Likewise the ETC will be continuing its campaign to focus on the infrastructure needs of the Eastern region, including the need for additional rail services from Ringwood. An event is scheduled for early October and will mirror the campaign that led the successful removal of zone three.