The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) says that the failure of the Federal Government to fund significant public transport projects in the budget represents a missed opportunity to develop a truly sustainable transport system.

The Chairperson of the ETC, Cr Van De Vreede said that the ETC requested that four public transport projects be funded in the east of Melbourne. They would benefit a million people and the environment. The projects are, rail to Rowville, improvement to the capacity of Belgrave and Lilydale lines, rail to Doncaster and transport interchanges.

“Funding public transport on a national basis like roads are is a great idea. More public transport would save the environment; save road funds and importantly help people avoid the high cost of petrol and traffic congestion.

“By way of example, one of the suggested projects, rail to Rowville would remove 2,400 cars or a freeway lane of traffic from our roads every hour.

“The State Government did not fund these projects last year so we have asked the Federal Government to take the lead and fund them. The ETC feels strongly that the Federal Government needs to take a lead role and initiate a program to encourage the creation of a transport system which mitigates climate change.”

“Such Federal Government funding would be consistent with the recommendations of the Federal Parliamentary report into sustainable cities. The report recognized that whilst the Federal Government has not traditionally directly funded public transport it should. The Federal Government has the greatest opportunity ever to use the budget surplus to set Australian cities on a path to a sustainable future and to significantly reduce congestion which is costing our economy billions every year.”

“Two of our local members, Jason Wood (41st Parliament) and Phillip Baressi (40th Parliament) were members of the committee and while they have not been successful this year I hope that they continue to advocate to the Federal Government for our region and these important public transport projects.

“The most disappointing thing is that the Federal Government continues to pour billions into roads without a coordinated policy across all transport modes. Why should more roads be built in our cities and suburbs when public transport could do the job?

“The ETC successfully campaigned for public transport improvements to the State Government last year and will continue with the campaign this year with the aim of getting federal funding for public transport,” Cr Van De Vreede concluded.

Relevant recommendations from the Committee on Environment and Heritage, Sustainable Cities Inquiry
  1. The committee recommends that:
  • transport infrastructure planning decisions be benchmarked against the recommended Australian Sustainability Charter; and
  • the Australian Government significantly boost its funding commitment for public transport systems, particularly light and heavy rail, in the major cities.
  1. The committee recommends that the provision of Australian Government transport infrastructure funds include provision of funding specifically for sustainable public transport infrastructure for suburbs and developments on the outer fringes of our cities.

For more information please contact;

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