Council Inauguration

Tonight on my 25th Birthday I was officially sworn in as councillor for Loughnan’s Hill Ward.

Over the next three years, during my time on Council, I want to enhance life within Maroondah to ensure that Maroondah becomes a vibrant municipality filled with opportunities for people of all ages and ability. I believe this will be achieved through improving the level of sustainability, mobility and accessibility within Maroondah resulting in a more inclusive and stronger community.

As a Councillor for the City of Maroondah I welcome your feedback. Please email or contact me on 0408 311 645.

Election Victory

I am pleased to announce that after an extremely close contest that I have been declared the winner and candidate for Loughnan’s Hill Ward in the Maroondah City Council Elections.

I am honoured to be elected and to be in a position to serve the community and further my advocacy work from within a position in local government. I intend on delivering positive results for the Maroondah Community and will ensure that Ringwood as well as Maroondah become a better place over my three year council term.

I wish to thank the many dedicated people that assisted me within my council campaign, including the many hours spent letterboxing and doorknocking, without this level of support a victory would not have been possible.

I also thank the community for having faith within my abilities to serve you as a councillor. I am truly honoured to serve the Maroondah community as councillor for Loughnan’s Hill.

Thank You For Your Support

With votes to be counted on Saturday and Sunday campaigning for the Maroondah Council elections is drawing to a close.

As such I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my campaign particularly the overwhelming number of volunteers who assisted in letterboxing and printing.

As a result we have run a campaign that has focused on the real issues facing residents and ratepayers in Loughnan’s Hill Ward and Maroondah. Not only have we focused issues such as anti-graffiti measures, inappropriate development and lack of accountability but we also provided solutions to resolving these issues.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone that took the opportunity to speak with me either when I was doorknocking or over the telephone or via email. It is your feedback and discussion that provided the input and comments to ensure that we can create a better Maroondah.

Thanking you,

Alex Makin

The Age: Bid to unite transport, planning

The Age recently conducted a number of features exploring the woes facing Melbourne’s public transport system.

The difficulties facing Melbourne’s public transport stem from the lack of leadership provided by the State Government in ensuring progress towards the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by the year 2020. In fact public transport modal share has remained static at 9%, due to long promised rail extensions being delayed and dismal bus services that often fail to run during evenings or on weekends.

People cannot use public transport if no public transport is available. Likewise people will not use public transport while it is slow, infrequent and overtly complex. Melbourne’s bus network needs to be streamlined and the SmartBus program, which delivers frequent and readily bus services must be accelerated.

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) released its five year plan as did the Metropolitan Transport Forum (MTF) and the Committee for Melbourne (which includes transport operators).

It is ridiculous that major roads such as Canterbury Road or Maroondah Highway do not have bus services seven days per week from morning through to midnight. While some improvements will be provided (including the Stud Road SmartBus and Sunday bus services for Maroondah Highway) these are just the beginning.

Likewise it is hypocritical for the government to establish an urban growth boundary and speak about sustainable development when many of the outer areas of Melbourne lack fixed rail access. For example, it is invalid and contradictory to envisage high-density development in Doncaster Hill when there is little public transport available to provide travel options for residents other than already congested roads.

The reason Melbourne’s public transport is not being upgraded is due to the fact that the government has failed to successfully integrate the functions of planning and transport. This is despite Melbourne 2030 and its goal for integrated planning which envisaged transport provision being kept apace with urban growth and revitalisation.

Five years ago Perth embarked on a similar Metropolitan Strategy and revitalised its ailing public transport system through linking public transport improvements with urban revitalisation and development. In Perth it was successful but in Melbourne this strategy is failing.

The Western Australian Government (headed by Labor’s Geoff Gallop) has an integrated Infrastructure (responsible for Transport) and Planning Portfolio, in Victoria we have separate Planning and Transport portfolios and a statutory authority known as VicRoads which has direct access to the Minister. In Perth the equivalent of VicRoads was merged into a combined Transport entity ensuring that all transport decisions were decided on merit.

As The Age reports, numerous groups from different perspectives and backgrounds have called for a similar overhaul to occur in Victoria:

GROUPS as diverse as local councils, employers’ representatives and public transport users have called for an overhaul of the way Victoria manages transport and urban planning.

Victoria needs a more “holistic” approach, says Robert Dunlop, infrastructure spokesman for the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Macquarie Bank executive director.

Peter Newman is one of Australia’s most respected transport planners and was responsible for the revitalisation of Perth:

A similar demand was a key priority in a report by the Metropolitan Transport Forum, a transport lobby made up of a group of Melbourne councils.

Co-written by leading transport planner Professor Peter Newman, the report says Victoria needs “an accountable and integrated transport planning agency”.

Professor Newman told The Age that VicRoads was a formidable bureaucracy, with much greater access to power and funds than the public transport directorate, which is submerged within the Department of Infrastructure.

“It would be good to see them get back on a more even footing,” he said.

Ultimately the advantages VicRoads has over the Public Transport Division of the Department of Infrastructure affects the outcome of transport decisions:

Public Transport Users Association spokesman Alex Makin pointed to VicRoads’ $1 billion annual budget, saying it spent money “making plans for new roads we don’t need and then lobbying government, business groups and the media to get them built”.

Under 2030 the Government says it wants to double public transport use by 2020. But there is increasing doubt that this can be achieved without a major rethink on transport priorities.

Based on the current lack of progress towards improving public transport modal share, the goals of Melbourne 2030 will remain unachievable until transport and planning is truly integrated:

Critics point to Western Australia, where planning and transport is combined under one minister and where Perth is now celebrated for major public transport reforms and new rail lines in particular.

“The success in transforming Perth from a public transport backwater into a public transport-oriented city occurred due to the merging of the transport and planning functions,” said Mr Makin.

Unfortunately the lack of response from the current Transport Minister makes it appear that the government is once again unwilling to undertake the necessary reforms:

Last night Transport Minister Peter Batchelor did not respond directly to a question when asked whether an overhaul of transport and planning was possible.

The Bracks Government’s self appointed Infrastructure Planning Council recommended the merger of VicRoads and the Department of Infrastructure back in 2002. The lack of progress made by the Bracks Government towards improving public transport has demonstrated just how foolish it was to ignore this independent advice.

Until the government acknowledges that Melbourne 2030 is doomed to fail unless VicRoads is abolished and planning and transport integrated through the appointment and responsibility of one Minister very little will actually improve within Melbourne and Victoria.

Candidate Statement

Maroondah needs a new generation of councillors that will stop the rot and listen to the community. As a local Ringwood resident for the past 22 years and a community advocate in many voluntary associations, I would be honoured to serve the people of Loughnan’s Hill as your local ward councillor. I will strengthen anti-graffiti laws to protect local businesses and residents.

I will enhance our mobility by ensuring safer local streets and advocating for better public transport. I will enhance our green open space and protect our environment.

I will prevent inappropriate development in residential areas and ensure greater support and opportunities for our youth, elderly, people with disabilities and families.

Please let me know about the issues that are of concern to you, contact me on 9812 2337 or 0409 136 213, email or visit

Vote 1 Alex Makin. I will not take your vote for granted.

PTUA Outer East – Planning Ahead for the Next Five Years

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Outer East Branch met for the second time tonight in our new venue at Box Hill.

Tonight’s meeting centred on the release of the PTUA’s five year plan and the alignment of our campaigns with this plan. As such the need for service improvements on the Dandenong line, more frequent rail services for the Belgrave and Lilydale lines (particularly beyond Ringwood), major service improvements to bus services and much needed tram and train services for Manningham will be the focus of the outer east branch as we enter 2006.

Saturday the 25th of November 2006 marks the date of the next State Election. The future of Melbourne will be dependent on improved public transport and mobility – it is imperative that action and not mere excuses is provided by the State Government.

The PTUA Outer East Branch with its new location in Box Hill and with an alignment consistent with the PTUA’s Five Year Plan is well positioned to advocate for vastly improved public transport in Melbourne’s outer east and beyond.

The PTUA Outer East Branch has already secured a number of achievements including:

  • Sunday services along Maroondah Highway;
  • The Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus;
  • Upgraded bus services in Maroondah, Manningham, Yarra Ranges, Knox and Whitehorse;
  • Red Orbital bus service along Warrigal Road;
  • Wellington Road SmartBus;
  • Feasibility studies into public transport improvements in Manningham.

The Outer East Branch has achieved these successes and more due to the dedicated work of its members. These successes however are just the beginning and a State Election Year is the perfect opportunity to secure further public transport improvements.

You can help by attending our branch meetings in Suite 2, 17 Carrington Road Box Hill. Beginning in February 2006 we will meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm.

PTUA Releases Five Year Plan

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has released its five year plan entitled Five Years Closer to 2020 – A Plan To Get Transport Back On Track.

After six years of excuses, it is crunch time for Melbourne’s transport system. The government has the choice of either committing to an immediate program of public transport improvments, or condemning Melbourne to increased congestion, air pollution, social isolation and increased financial volatility due to endless rising petrol prices.

The PTUA’s five year plan recognises the dire need to extend Melbourne’s rail network (which currently only serves of one-third of Melbourne) while also calling for bus service upgrades and funding to alleviate genuine rail bottlenecks.
Melbourne’s bus services are arguably the worst of any capital city; very poor service frequencies, limited hours of operation and an almost complete lack of services on Sunday and evenings has condemned two-thirds of Melbourne to excessive car dependence.

Public transport must become competitive with car travel for it to become a viable alternative. As such rail and tram extensions to keep the fixed rail network apace with Melbourne’s growth and much needed bus improvements are critical.

The future viability of Melbourne depends on better public transport. Melbourne has already lost the coveted title of World’s Most Liveable City, due to government inaction on public transport.

Now is the time to write letters to your local Members of Parliament and to Local and State Newspapers to demand action.