A Public Transport Network We Can Count On: Tim’s Speech at the Moreland Transport Forum

On 29 September, the day the contract was signed to build the 18 billion dollar East West link, candidates for Brunswick spoke at a forum at the Brunswick Town Hall. Here is an edited version of my speech and do share this video with your friends.

A boom in car-ownership in the 1950s led to new suburbs with looping crescents and cul de sacs, designed to slow traffic; they were not designed for walking. Isolated from services, jobs and public transport, their residents had to rely on cars.

And we continue to build suburbs like it’s still the 1950s: both of the other parties in government have added thousands of hectares to Melbourne’s urban sprawl. As a result Melbourne is awash with cars and trucks, emitting CO2, endangering kids and cyclists.

We need a world class public transport network to reduce the amount of traffic and we need to promote walking and cycling, for a quieter safer city. We don’t need a massive polluting toll road that encourages driving and creates congestion at off ramps.

The Greens have been standing up against the road lobby’s East West toll road since it was first proposed. I’m delighted that a few weeks ago Labor tentatively approached our position, albeit depending on a courtroom gamble.

The Greens put the Construction company on notice well in advance: “do not sign the contract, - we will not honour it.” If we have to legislate to void the contract, we will. We will not support any government that intends to build the road.

In Brunswick, you can grow old waiting for buses, you have to squeeze onto trams – especially in the south of Brunswick, and there are only 3 trains per hour on Upfield line. The old parties are sitting on their hands, watching population grow and making ads about transport.

We’re committed to seeing a PT network that more people can reach, trust enough to use - and to plan transport together with new housing. We will:

  • Fix overcrowding on trams by buying an extra 50 of the 210 person E-class trams ($350m) to go on the most crowded routes such as Lygon St and Melville Rd.
  • Commit to an engineering and timetabling study of how to optimise the Upfield transport corridor, and increase the frequency of trains above 3 per hour. This could lead to duplication of last 4km of the Upfield line (Gowrie to Upfield).
  • Turn the 504 bus along Brunswick Rd into an inner city orbital smart bus – running ten minutely from Elsternwick to Footscray.

We’ll encourage cycling to train stations, by increasing the number of bike cages at stations. And we’ll get the state government to match council spending on bike paths up to an extra $5 per person annually. We also want bikes to have a greater share of TAC safety funding.

Beyond Brunswick we want to see some overdue rail projects get under way, including Doncaster rail and Melbourne Airport rail. We’ll invest $3-400 million over next four years to fast track new generation signalling to increase the capacity of existing tracks on Melbourne’s rail network. See the greens transport initiative for more detail.

And we’ll fund this with the money that would have disappeared into the East West Link tunnel – financed by an opaque Public Private Partnership with capital cost of 10% much more expensive than government borrowing at 4%.

The Greens vision is one of roads you can ride on, of quieter traffic, of CO2 falling every year, and of a public transport network you can use.

If that’s your vision, then voting Green will give you a local member you can trust to stand up for it in parliament.