Herald-Sun: Petrol price hike tipped

Amid a forecast of rising petrol prices the Public Transport Users Association released its pre-budget submission calling on the State Government to dramatically improve public transport.

The Herald-Sun has reported on this pre-budget submission:

The Public Transport Users Association said the latest price hike increased the need for a major boost to public transport in the state budget.

“After months of poor reliability and disruptions, public confidence in the system is at a tipping point,” association vice-president Alex Makin said.

The effects of a lack of public transport and, as a consequence, car dependence, are clearly reflected in the data for total vehicle kilometres for the years 2005/06 (source: VicRoads).

Within inner Melbourne (which is relatively well-served with a comprehensive train and tram network) overall total vehicle kilometres travelled fell by 1.9%. In contrast however, total vehicle kilometres travelled fell by just 0.3% in the outer suburbs.

Without decisive action people would continue to be vulnerable to higher oil prices – as people abandon the system, as well as increased congestion, pollution and greenhouse emissions, he said.

The upcoming State Budget will be a key litmus test for Lynne Kosky, the newly appointed Minister for Public Transport and whether she deliver an alternative to the crippling effects of rising petrol prices.

MAV Transport and Infrastructure Group – first meeting for 2007

The MAV’s Transport and Infrastructure Advisory Group is charged with providing recommendations to the MAV Board on matters relating to the infrastructure needs of Melbourne and Victoria.

Over the course of this year the group will be focusing on federal funding for public transport, the infrastructure needs for Melbourne’s growth corridors and issues relating to Victoria’s rail freight network.

Australia remains the only OECD nation where the Federal Government does not invest in urban public transport infrastructure and this is particularly apparent in areas that are experiencing high rates of urban growth. Likewise the State Government will not meet its goal of increasing the percentage rail freight unless urgent investment is provided.

AusLink, the Federal Government’s transport strategy, needs to be broadened in scope to incorporate urban public transport to ensure a holistic approach to Australia’s transport infrastructure.

Media Release: Annual Maroondah Photo Competition launches

Councillor Alex Makin said it’s the time of year when Maroondah residents and visitors are invited to show their own special view of Maroondah – taken through the eye of a camera lens.

“The Photo Competition provides a great opportunity for people to capture the spirit of Maroondah. Favourite places, special landmarks, the great outdoors, happy families, sporting shots and artistic creations are all popular choices,” said Cr Makin.

“Look out for the brightly coloured orange brochure which details the three competition sections, the great prizes on offer and the entry form,” said Cr Makin.

The open section is for everyone aged 18 or over, and the winner will receive a Digital Camera to the value of $500, while the runner up will win three Hoyts La Premiere double passes.

The intermediate section is for anyone aged between 13 and 17 years, making it ideal for secondary school students. First prize is a camera and film processing to the value of $200. Second prize is four Hoyts movie passes and a Hoyts La Premiere double pass.

The junior section caters for photographers up to 12 years. The winner will receive a camera and film processing to the value of $100, while the runner up will receive four Hoyts movie passes.

A Mayor’s Encouragement Award will also be made, and the winner will receive an Eastland shopping voucher to the value of $200.

“Up to three photos can be entered per person, so you can afford to be creative. There are a lot of photo possibilities in Maroondah – you are only limited by your imagination!” said Cr Makin.

This year’s Maroondah Photo Competition entries will be on show at Maroondah Art Gallery, Maroondah Federation Estate, Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood from Thursday 19 July to Saturday 18 August.

The Mayor will present the prizes during the first week of the exhibition and each entrant will receive an invitation by mail to attend the awards presentation.

The prizes have kindly been donated by Croydon Camera House, Hoyts, Eastland Shopping Centre.

Closing date for entries is 30 June 2007 and photos must have been taken after 1 July 2006.

Entry forms are available from Croydon and Ringwood Libraries, Croydon Camera House, Eastland Shopping Centre and Council’s Service Centres at Braeside Avenue, Ringwood; Civic Square, Croydon and Level 2, Shop Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.

“So whether your camera is high-tech digital or low-tech disposable, get out there and start snapping!” said Cr Makin.

Launch of Ringwood Going Places

The Minister for Planning, Justin Madden, was in Ringwood today to launch the branding of Ringwood Going Places. The pieces to rejuvenate Ringwood are coming together such as the passing of the precinct plans for the redevelopment of the Town Centre.

One significant piece that remains unresolved is Ringwood Station. The redevelopment of the station is critical to ensuring the success of the Ringwood Transit City and yet a commitment from the State Government has not been forthcoming.

Successful urban revitalisation requires collaboration and partnership between State and Local Governments, it is time for the State Government to show it is truly committed to the Ringwood Transit City by committing funding to the station redevelopment in the upcoming State Budget.

Maroondah Council commits to the future of the Croydon Outdoor Memorial Pool

Tonight’s council meeting, which marked the first meeting for 2007, included an item of urgent business in relation to the Croydon Outdoor Memorial Pool. In a vote of five against two, Maroondah Council resolved to retain the Memorial Pool and commit to the sourcing of funds to upgrade and reopen the facility.

There were three motions passed in relation the Croydon Memorial Pool, the first of which allowed the issue to be heard as part of urgent business.

The other motions, which I seconded on each occasion, were as follows:

That council hereby rescinds the following wording of part 4 of the motion passed by council on 2 February, 2004, relating to the Croydon Aquatic Facility feasibility study, namely:

“Council undertakes to make no further decision regarding the future of the Croydon Memorial Pool until a new facility has been opened.”

Rescinding this motion allowed the council to consider the issue of the Croydon Memorial Pool immediately, rather than deferring the issue until a later date. This allowed the third motion to be debated and ultimately passed:

That Council:

  1. Commits to the future of the Croydon Memorial Pool.
  2. Seeks funding options from Federal and State Governments and other sources of funding.

These motions, each of each were passed successfully by council, has meant that Maroondah City Council has voted to retain the Croydon Memorial Pool and will now seek the funding necessary to upgrade and retain the facility.

I would like to thank the Save Croydon Outdoor Pool (SCOOP) group for their commitment and for maintaining an ongoing campaign in calling council to the save the pool. I am honoured to be in a position where I was able to vote in support, and second the motions, that resulting in saving this unique Croydon icon.

Delegates' report: Welcome to 2007

I would like to begin by thanking the community groups that invited me to their end of year functions. While it may seem like such a long ago it is always good to have an opportunity to reflect on the previous year to ensure the very best for 2007.

As we enter 2007 a number of significant events have already begun and I would like to echo Cr. Gurr’s comments in regard to the success of the the Maroondah Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony.

February often marks the month that meetings officially begin and already I have attended the first meeting of the Eastern Transport Coalition, where I am pleased to say that Cr. Mick van de Vreede has been reappointed as chair of the group by unanimous vote. The Eastern Transport Coalition had considerable success last year, particularly in ensuring the removal of zone three public transport fares, which will take effect from March this year and I am certain that this success will continue throughout 2007.

There are a number of important events this year, including the State Government’s audit of Melbourne 2030 an area of interest to both the Eastern Transport Coalition and The Municipal Association of Victoria’s Urban Reference Planning Group. Strategies involving consolidation and higher urban amenity will only be achieved if the State Government invests in much-needed infrastructure and service improvements, particularly in areas such as public transport. It is hoped that the audit process will provide an honest review of Melbourne 2030 so that we can learn from what has worked and what hasn’t.

2007 will certainly be an interesting and challenging year and I will be tabling the rest of my written report.

The 2007 Maroondah Festival

The Maroondah Festival, an annual community focused event, was held today at Croydon Park and featured numerous attractions including a lifestyle precinct, youth precinct, a community expo and a large gourmet food area.

While numbers appeared to lower than previous years, most likely due to the hot 38 degree weather, it was still encouraging to see so many active community groups, such as Save Croydon Outdoor Olympic Pool (SCOOP), Eastern FM, Maroondah Bushlinks and CRSIP Nursery.

I hope everyone enjoyed their time at the Maroondah festival!

ABC 774: Discussing Melbourne's rail delays

Amid further rail interruptions I was invited to speak with Derek Guille on the evening program on ABC 774. This morning during peak-hour there were a number of major delays, with signalling faults affecting Ringwood, Lilydale and Belgrave trains as well as point failures near Caulfield which affected Dandenong, Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston trains. This was further compounded by delays in the evening peak caused by the hot weather, where the refurbished Comeng trains cannot operate in temperatures above 35 degrees.

The State Government must step in to ensure proper maintenance of Melbourne’s rail infrastructure amid further buck-passing between Connex, the State Government and MainCo, the company charged with rail maintenance. Likewise Melbourne’s Comeng trains need as part of their maintenance schedule the ability to operate in temperatures greater than 35 degrees, it is unacceptable to simply expect Melbourne’s public transport to simply fall apart under such weather conditions.

The 2007 Sustainable Living Festival

The Sustainable Living Festival, an annual event held at Federation Square, aims to showcase organisations that inspire and promote sustainable communities.

Given that transport, due to car dependence, is the highest household contributor of greenhouse emissions, it was fitting for the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) to hold a stall over the three day festival.

Alex Makin 2007 Sustainable Living Festival

I staffed the festival for Friday afternoon and it was encouraging to see the continued strong interest in sustainable transport from people all across metropolitan Melbourne. Sustainable transport through the provision of rail and tram extensions in growth areas interlinked by frequent and direct bus services is the only way to provide real transport choice to Metropolitan Melbourne and hence mitigate rising traffic congestion and reduce petrol dependence.

The Sustainable Transport Festival is being held from Friday the 16th of through to Sunday the 18th of February at Federation Square. For more information please visit www.slf.org.au.

Eastern Transport Coalition – first meeting for 2007

The first meeting for 2007 of the Eastern Transport Coalition was held tonight to begin implementing the groups’ objectives. This includes achieving federal funding for public transport and to participate in the Melbourne 2030 audit to ensure that the State Government invests in much needed public transport infrastructure and further service improvements.

The Eastern Transport Coalition achieved a number of victories over the last year, including the abolition of zone three, which will take effect from March. Given the ongoing success of the Eastern Transport Coalition Cr. Mick van de Vreede of Knox City Council received unanimous support to continue as chair as we enter 2007.

Melbourne’s future economic, social and environmental success will depend on fast, efficient and frequent public transport. The State Government must act upon the public transport needs of eastern Melbourne to boost the public confidence in its flagging Melbourne 2030 planning policy.