The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) has expressed alarm at today’s (17 August 2022) announcement that the State Opposition plans to halt the Suburban Rail Loop project if elected in November.

The ETC is a group of seven Councils advocating for sustainable transport across Melbourne’s east. Three member Councils (Monash, Whitehorse and Manningham) are along the proposed SRL route.

The Chair of the ETC, Cr Stuart James, called for a change of approach from all political parties on investment decisions of such enormous importance to the community.

“Politicking around these major infrastructure decisions has to stop”, Cr James said. “It erodes the public’s faith in Government, has real costs in terms of time and resources for stakeholders and jeopardises the design and delivery of a functional and effective transport systems that meets Melbourne’s burgeoning needs.”

“The SRL answers many of the transport needs that communities along the route have” he said. “It provides better access to universities and schools, better ways of moving to large employment precincts and provides direct and quick transport links to medical facilities and hospitals for tens of thousands of would-be commuters. We simply can’t keep relying on private motor vehicles and congested roads to service a population that is set to double in the next 30 years.”

“The SRL is also vitally important to areas like Manningham, which have long called for rail connections to reduce overcrowding on roads and bus services.”

“There has also been a very significant cost and time outlay by Councils along the route to advocate on behalf of our communities and in submissions to the EES process. It would be very frustrating to see this all just go to waste”, Cr James said.

“There is no doubt our health system needs investment, as do so many other areas such as schools, emergency services and aged care. But none of this should be done simply by ripping away vital investment in public transport to serve generations to come.”

“ETC Councils are committed to the SRL project, both as a much-needed transport service for our communities, but also as a transformational land use project that will cater for the needs of our growing population”, Cr Stuart said.

“The public interest is best served when major projects, like the SRL, sit above partisan politics.”

Further comment, Cr Stuart James, 0413 184 250