In an historic step the Mayors of seven Council’s in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs have signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd asking them to contribute to the funding of major public transport infrastructure in urban areas.

The seven Councils, Greater Dandenong, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges represent one million people. This area will see some of the closest contests seats in the up coming Federal election.

The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) have been campaigning for better public transport over the last two years and more recently have turned their attention to the Federal election, strongly believing that the Federal Government must assist the states in developing better transport systems by helping to funding public transport infrastructure.

ETC Chairperson, Cr Mick Van De Vreede, said that over the past few months we have seen both political parties step in and fund or offer to fund areas that have not traditionally been their responsibility, now public transport should be looked at.

“Members of both parties have already indicated that they agree with the need, primarily for environmental reasons, to fund urban public transport. Now we want their leaders to agree as well.

“Fact is the voters agree, in a recent survey of 1000 voters conducted by the Australian Research Group the key finding was that a majority of people believe that the Federal Government should consider funding major additions to urban public transport in the same manner it funds roads.

“There is also precedent, the former Federal Labor Better Cities program cooperated with the Victorian Coalition Government to fund extensions to light rail and upgrades to heavy rail.

“The current blinkered policy makes no sense, why pour billions of dollars into urban road capacity projects without considering other transport options? Options such as public transport also deal with congestion, help families and the environment.

“Our survey also found that 83 per cent of respondents said that the issue of public transport infrastructure would be of importance when deciding who they would vote for in the next Federal election so both Mr Howard and Mr Rudd should listen,” Cr Mick Van De Vreede concluded.

For more information please contact;

ETC Chairperson Cr Mick Van De Vreede 0438 029 932
CPR Communications, Robert Larocca    0409 198 350