Manningham Council continues its fight for a rail line to Doncaster

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Manningham Leader: Manningham Council continues its fight for a rail line to Doncaster. Anna Chisholm. 11 September 2014

Manningham Council says it will continue to fight for a rail line to Doncaster.

Manningham Council has not given up the fight for Doncaster Rail, despite the State Government’s delayed release of the final phase one Doncaster Rail study.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder’s spokeswoman, Jess Maguire, said the phase one final recommendations report had been received by government for consideration and the response to the findings, including details of further work to be undertaken, would be released in the coming weeks.

Phase two of the study is said to include more detailed planning on heavy rail options or consider alternatives.

Koonung Ward Cr Stephen O’Brien, who replaced Cr Jennifer Yang as a Doncaster Rail Advocacy Steering Committee member, questioned the report’s significance.

“The devil’s in the detail,” he said.

“I’m hoping there will be quite a substantial direction and support for the rail in there, rather than just stringing the community along.

“I’m looking for something substantial and not just waffle.

“More studies will get people’s hopes up.”

Council will be spending $20,000 this financial year on campaigning and events to advocate for heavy rail.

Cr O’Brien said if the final report was not going ahead, the community needed to push for “plan B”.

“Realistically, we have left it too late,” he said.

“If it’s not going ahead, put us out of our misery.

“But we want to keep it alive and my job is to advocate for it very strongly.”

He said if there was no commitment or funding, it would mean looking into a dedicated bus lane with grade separation to the city.

“The razzamatazz might have gone out of it,” he said.

“But you can’t just walk away from the strategy for Doncaster Rail.

“We want this rail line and it’s important to have it.”

Cr O’Brien said the $20,000 was for promotions and marketing including an occasional stand at Westfield Doncaster.

Cr Yang stepped down from the committee after announcing she would be campaigning for Labor, for the Mount Waverley state seat.

The committee plan to meet in October or November, in the lead up to the State Election.

The State Government in February announced a $47 million upgrade of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus service, by upgrading Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade.

It will include a free-flowing exit off the Eastern Freeway, along with upgraded bus stops.

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