November poll to be a ‘Franklin River moment’ on transport, roads say Greens

Melbourne Leader: November poll to be a ‘Franklin River moment’ on transport, roads say Greens. Nic Price. 10 September 2014

Greens candidate for Richmond, Kathleen Maltzahn, says the November poll could be a “Franklin River moment”, changing Victoria’s approach from roads to public transport. Picture: Kylie Else

Transport has cemented itself as the key state election issue in Yarra after an at-times fiery public forum this week.

Greens candidate for Richmond Kathleen Maltzahn told the crowd of about 60 people at Collingwood Town Hall on Monday night that the November poll could be a “Franklin River moment” which fundamentally changed Victoria’s approach from roads to public transport.

She said the Greens would tear up contracts for the $8 billion East West Link if the party was in a position to do so after the election.

Despite vocal opposition from the crowd, Liberal upper house candidate for the Northern Metropolitan Region Gladys Liu defended the toll tunnel and said new roads and public transport projects were required for a holistic solution.

Ms Liu also talked up the State Government’s record on public transport, saying punctuality, reliability and satisfaction had all improved under the Coalition.

But Labor Northern Metropolitan MP Jenny Mikakos said the public transport system was “failing” and pledged the opposition would push ahead with the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel under the CBD and remove the 50 worst level crossings if it won power.

Ms Mikakos promised 24-hour public transport on Friday and Saturday nights and new “continuous flow” intersections along Hoddle St.

Questioned by Socialist candidate for Richmond Stephen Jolly about why Labor would not rip up East West Link contracts if it won, Ms Mikakos said Labor did not want to expose taxpayers to “any potential payouts”.

Ms Mikakos said Labor opposed the project and called for the government to not sign contracts until after the election.

The transport forum was organised by the Metropolitan Transport Forum and Leader Newspapers.

Read more on the transport forum and public transport issues in inner Melbourne in next week’s Melbourne Leader newspaper.

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