Tonight’s Eastern Transport Coalition meeting featured a presentation from Associate Professor of Environment of Planning, Michael Buxton of RMIT University.
Professor Buxton urged the Eastern Transport Coalition to view the Melbourne 2030 five year audit as an opportunity to push for truly integrated transport and land-use planning. Melbourne 2030, while containing sound theory, has been largely flawed in implementation due to the State Government failing to provide the necessary public transport and community infrastructure required to mitigate traffic congestion and improve environmental quality.
Furthermore Melbourne is vastly becoming home to very different cities, with a vibrant and diverse inner city area and sprawling middle and outer suburbs that lack necessary transport and community infrastructure.
Unfortunately the Government seems intent to continue its poor record of public transport projects with no rail or tram extensions being forecast for the next ten years. Furthermore while $7.2 billion was spent on major roads over the past seven years, just half on the $10.5 billion promised by the Government’s Transport and Liveability Statement (known as Meeting Our Transport Challenges) will actually be allocated towards public transport.
Melbourne 2030 and Meeting Our Transport Challenges have failed since they lack cross-sectoral integration between land use planning and transport. Furthermore the Department of Treasury and Finance (which controls the budget process) has refused to sign off on the goals of Melbourne 2030, including the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by the year 2020.
As a classic example of the failure with Melbourne 2030, Ringwood, despite being designated a Transit City, is still without a firm commitment towards the desperately needed redevelopment of Ringwood Station.
The Eastern Transport Coalition, as a regional council grouping that includes almost one million residents, has a great opportunity to call for public transport improvements and a coordinated State Government approach on behalf of residents.