This afternoon I attended a CEDA lunch featuring a presentation from Howard Ronaldson, the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure (DOI). The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) is an independent think tank, which aims to promote the economic development of Australia in a sustainable and socially balanced way.
As part of its series of topics critical to the success of Victoria, CEDA organised the lunch presentation as an opportunity to explore the infrastructure issues facing Melbourne and Victoria. As Secretary of the DOI, Howard Ronaldson, has responsibility for ports, as well as the road and rail network.
Howard’s presentation largely included content from the State Government’s Meeting Our Transport Challenges, but did discuss the need for further integration between transport and planning particularly given the goals of Melbourne 2030 in encouraging public transport usage and the development of activity centres.
After the presentation I discussed the needs of Ringwood and Maroondah directly with Howard as an opportunity to reiterate the need for State Government action over Ringwood Station, particularly given that major projects, such as the new town centre, are likely to be delayed until a commitment to the redevelopment is made.
I also discussed the need for more frequent services beyond Ringwood, given Ringwood’s status as transit city and the high proportion of trips taken between Ringwood and Croydon, as well as from further east. The Belgrave and Lilydale lines currently have just a half-hourly service beyond Ringwood from 10am to 4pm during weekdays, despite the fact that services operate on a 20 minute frequency on weekends.
Given the desire to help shift peak hour travel demand to other times of the day and that more frequent services are clearly possible, it seems absurd that the State Government has not acted to provide at least a 20 minute frequency along the Belgrave / Lilydale line during weekdays.
Hopefully, progress will be made on these issues now that they have been raised directly with the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure.