Melbourne Leader: State government candidates join public for forum on transport. 3 October 2014
Tram services in Melbourne were on the agenda at Thursday night’s Metropolitan Transport Forum. Picture: Josie Hayden
Public transport is average in the inner city and more needs to be done to improve it.
That was the message the Greens and Labor were trying to get across to the audience at the Melbourne Transport Forum for the Melbourne electorate last night.
But Liberal candidate for the Northern Metropolitan Region, Gladys Liu, said the Coalition Government had vastly improved public transport since coming into office.
“We’ve inherited a public transport system that was in a mess,” Ms Liu said.
“We have 10,000 extra tram, train and bus services every week since the Coalition has come into government.”
Ms Liu briefly talked about the controversial East West Link project before criticising the ALP’s backflip on the project.
Melbourne state Labor MP Jennifer Kanis.
Melbourne state Labor MP Jennifer Kanis said her party’s top priorities were investing in public transport and removing 50 of the state’s worst level crossings.
Ms Kanis said the ALP would build the metro rail link and stop the East West Link project from going ahead if elected.
“In 58 days we have a choice between Labor’s plan for public transport or Liberal’s dud project,” she said.
Greens candidate Ellen Sandell said Melbourne hadn’t had a new suburban train line built since the 1930s.
“We can do better,” she said.
And she did not shy away from criticising Labor’s change of mind about the $8 billion road project, telling the audience “the Greens are the only major party that has always opposed the East West Link”.
There were two questions from the audience about overcrowding on trams.
Ms Sandell said the Greens would buy 50 extra trams and would raise tram platforms and build lower trams for accessibility.
The Greens were also committed to building new tram routes in the city, she said.
Ms Liu said the State Government had already paid for 40 new trams and had constructed super platforms that allowed prams and trolleys to get onto trams easily.
Ms Kanis said the 40 trams the government had funded were actually part of 50 trams the former Labor Government ordered.
KEEPING POLITICS OUT OF PLANNING
An audience member asked about the democratic processes when it came to making decisions about public transport plans.
Greens candidate for Melbourne Ellen Sandell. Picture: Mark Stewart
Ms Sandell said the Greens wanted to ban party developer donations, similar to the policy in NSW.
Ms Liu said the Liberal Party listened to the public’s voice.
Ms Kanis said Labor would establish Infrastructure Victoria to “take the politics out of planning and to give Victorians a greater voice”.
A Docklands man told the forum he was concerned about the planned extension of the Collins St tram to Fishermans Bend because it would “decimate the park” and because of noise concerns.
The three speakers all agreed that it was hard to please everyone but extra public transport services were needed in new developments.