Public Transport Users Association Outer East Branch Meeting

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Outer East Branch meets on the first Thursday of each month to discuss public transport issues relevant to outer eastern Melbourne.

The branch aims to provide a local and vocal presence representing the public transport needs of the outer eastern suburbs. Recent successes of the branch include the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus (due in February 2008), the Knox City Council Rowville rail feasibility study and the Manningham City Council feasibility study into the Doncaster Road tram extension.

The branch meets at at the Box Hill Community Arts Centre (470 Station Street, Box Hill) from 7:00 pm and is within walking distance of Box Hill Station and the route 700 SmartBus. Attendance is open to all outer eastern residents.

Public Transport Users Association Southeast Branch Meeting

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Southeast Branch meets on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss public transport issues relevant to southeastern Melbourne.

The branch aims to provide a local and vocal presence representing the public transport needs of the fast growing southeastern suburbs. Recent successes include new cleaning and maintenance standards for Dandenong Station, improvements to Noble Park Station and more frequent bus services.

The branch meets at at the Greater Dandenong Council offices (397-405 Springvale Road, Springvale) from 7:00 pm and is within walking distance of Springvale Station and the route 888/889 SmartBus. Attendance is open to all southeastern residents.

Maroondah Journal: Anger at park sale proposal

The evaluation of Maroondah’s parks and open space is continuing with the Maroondah Journal reporting on the current proposal to potentially sell council land located at 7-9 Bedford Road in Ringwood, a block that consists of play equipment.

Cr Alex Makin said the decision to sell the land would be made at the next council meeting. “There is still an opportunity for people to make their voice heard. It does help to add impact to written submissions.”

On Monday the 6th of August, a committee of council, consisting of myself, the mayor Cr. Peter Gurr and the ward councillor Natalie Thomas, will be hearing verbal submissions in regard to this park. The verbal submission process allows anyone who issued a written submission to reinforce their comments in regard to the future of 7-9 Bedford Road.

The committee will provide a recommendation to council, where the decision regarding the future of this park will be made at a full council meeting.

While the submission period has formally closed I would encourage anyone who holds concerns over the park at 7-9 Bedford Road to contact Council. I am more happy to receive such submissions and be contacted via email on

Media Release: Major transport survey finds high concern about congestion

The Eastern Transport Coalition has recently commissioned a survey by the Australian Research Group into the views of residents about the problems with transport in their area.

Cr Mick Van de Vreede said that cars are overwhelmingly the most used form of transport in the outer east and residents have very poor knowledge of what other transport options there may be.

“It’s quite clear from the results of the survey that more needs to be done to give people transport options other than the private vehicle.

“It would be better for the environment and the family budget if they didn’t have to rely on cars to get around all of the time.

“Not surprisingly, road congestion is a big problem in our area, 40 per cent of respondents reported encountering a very high level of congestion on major roads with another 47 per cent reporting a high level.

“The link between people having public transport options and their understanding of congestion as an issue was clear. A comparatively low 29 per cent of respondents living in Chisholm (Box Hill, Burwood, Mount Waverly and Oakleigh) thought there was a very high level of congestion on major roads.

By contrast, Aston has high levels of congestion and low levels of public transport use.

“This shows that if people have decent public transport options they won’t be as concerned or affected by on road congestion.

“The survey also showed that when people have public transport as a real option they would be more likely to use it. Residents in Chisholm reported the most frequent use of public transport with 12 per cent saying they used it every day and 21 per cent using it several times a week.

“This was in contrast to respondents in the Federal electorate of LaTrobe (Belgrave, Berwick, Boronia Upper Ferntree Gully and Mount Dandenong) which were less likely to use public transport. In their cases only 16 per cent saying they used it at least once a week. One third said they never use public transport.

The survey also showed that we have a long way to go to meet goals to increase public transport use.

“Currently only 15 per cent of people use public transport as the primary means of travel to work and only 10 per cent for use it when it comes to not work trips.

“The State Government has a target of 20 per cent of trips by public transport by 2020 which is a goal we support, but a much greater level of investment in new public transport is needed.

“In our view Federal Government, in addition to the role played by the State Government, should play a role by increasing the availability of public transport. They currently provide funds for some major road capacity expansion projects and those funds should also be able to be used for major public transport projects which will reduce levels of congestion, for instance train and tram lines extensions,” Cr Van de Vreede concluded.

The sample for the survey was 1000 people in the Federal electorates within the ETC member Councils area.
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July 2007 Maroondah Forum for Carers and People with Disabilities

The Maroondah forum for Carers and People with Disabilities, is a quarterly forum that provides the opportunity to exchange information and to highlight concerns to Council that effect people with disabilities

Today’s meeting included a presentation from Villa Maria on the respite and support services they provide for their clients. In addition Pam Usher from Invicta Bus Company spoke about recent bus service improvements and the training their drivers are required to undertake to ensure they meet the needs of people with a disability.

Much discussion also centred on Maroondah’s Pedestrian Strategy, which has facilitated the much needed construction of a footpath around Maroondah Hospital. The Maroondah Pedestrian Strategy has also enabled the development of a footpath trading policy which will regulate the use of footpaths by traders and therefore assist in ensuring a safe urban environment for people with mobility aids.

2007 Rail Infrastructure Summit

I was invited to the 2007 Infrastructure Summit as part of a panel to discuss public transport infrastructure and the improvements required to maintain patronage growth and mitigate rising traffic congestion.

Each panellist was provided with the opportunity to deliver a five minute presentation and during this time I covered the economic, social and environmental factors that necessitate the delivery of much needed public transport improvements. While the State Government may claim that it has been overwhelmed by recent patronage increases, the reality is that this should have been expected and encouraged, if the Government was sincere about achieving the goal of 20% public transport modal share by the year 2020.

Modal share data, which is available as Appendix B of the recent State Budget papers, shows very little growth in the proportion of people that use public transport versus the proportion of people that are driving, thereby demonstrating a lack of government commitment to this modal share target.

It is interesting to note that the corresponding VicRoads data for the 2005-06 period highlighted a slight reduction in road use with the total vehicle kilometres travelled decreasing by 1.9% within inner Melbourne but by just 0.3 in the outer suburbs. Given the high price of petrol over that period, this data clearly demonstrates the deficiencies that exist in Melbourne’s public transport system, since outer suburban residents are not provided with the same public transport options that are available to inner Melbourne.

Public transport modal share (source: Appendix B - State Budget Papers 2007-2008)

It is clear that the State Government needs to go beyond the projects it listed in its policy document Meeting Our Transport Challenges and commit to the delivery of frequent train, tram and bus services across metropolitan Melbourne. This includes the need to bring forward much needed rail extensions, new tram extensions and further bus improvements. Reports such as the Government commissioned Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) inquiry into traffic congestion and the Environmental Sustainability Commissioner’s recent report into Melbourne’s sustainability confirm this view.

1967 Referendum Project Workshop

This evening I attended a workshop on issues relating the 1967 Referendum and reconciliation organised by the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place in association with Reconciliation Eastern Metro, which includes reconciliation groups throughout the Eastern region, including the Maroondah Movement for Reconciliation.

The Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, located at Croydon Way in Croydon, provides a centralised location for indigenous health services and is supported by Eastern Access Community Health. Tonight’s workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on the 1967 referendum and to identify and address the current issues facing Indigenous Australians within Eastern Melbourne.

It is clear that cross-government collaboration must improve to ensure higher standards of health and wellbeing since even in metropolitan Melbourne the average life expectancy and education levels of indigenous Australians still remains below the average levels for the region. While the underlying issues are complex in nature, strong government collaboration, across local, state and Federal levels, with a clear commitment to outcomes and governance will help in the delivery of services required for Indigenous Australians. It is remarkable that a number of government initiatives continually fail to move past pilot status, meaning that funding for many worthwhile programs is scrapped before the benefits can be fully realised.

While the 1967 Referendum recognised the rights of Indigenous Australians there is further work that needs to be done to ensure equity and opportunity for these Australians.

This event will be followed by a second workshop on the 15th of August to consolidate community feedback before proceeding with a regional forum on the 18th and 19th of September.

Maroondah Journal: Playtime's back on again

The Maroondah Journal has continued its coverage of Maidstone Street by reporting that the park will not be sold by Maroondah City Council. The decision not to sell the park was decided at the Council meeting held on the 16th of July.

Cr Alex Makin said it was a great decision for the community.

“The community has listened to the community and will not be taking any further action regarding the proposed sale of this property. A new playground will be installed on the land in coming weeks”.

This victory was possible due to the assistance and dedication of the local community. Council received 55 objections to the proposal and I would like to thank everyone that took the time to register their objection to this sale. I would also like to thank Heidi Victoria, the Member for Bayswater for her participation in the campaign to save the park. The rejection of the sale demonstrates just what can be achieved when residents becomes active within their local community. I hope that these residents will continue to play an active part in community activities

New play equipment will be installed within the next six to eight weeks to return Maidstone Park back into the cherished community park. Congratulations to the Ringwood community in ensuring that this sale was overturned.

Ringwood Historical Society July 2007 meeting

Tonight’s Ringwood Historical Society included a presentation on the Connell family, a prominent sporting family that moved to Ringwood from Daylesford in the 1920s. Bill and Amy Connell had 12 children (eleven boys and one girl) and all but the oldest two children lived in Ringwood since the early 1920s. The family was heavily involved in the East Ringwood and Ringwood Football and Cricket Clubs and the six brothers all enlisted simultaneously for service at the onset of World War II.

Tonight’s meeting also included a number of slides depicting Ringwood’s history since the early 1920s, prominent features included the construction and the relocation of the Ringwood Clocktower, the building and continued expansions of Eastland and the former Ringwood Town Hall.

Ringwood is fortunate to have an active historical society to ensure the retention of Ringwood’s history.

North Ringwood Senior Citizens AGM

This afternoon I attended the Annual General Meeting of the North Ringwood Senior Ciitizens to facilitate the election of new office bearers for the next twelve months. North Ringwood Seniors is one Melbourne’s larger senior’s organisations with over 270 members and is one of three groups that operates from Norwood Hall in Ringwood North.

The organisation provides a range of weekly activities, including snooker, pool, dancing and card games, as well as a number of travelling trips for Maroondah’s senior citizens. I look forward to working with the newly appointed committee to address any council issues that may arise.