Monday, March 30, 2009

Senate inquiry into Commonwealth funding for public transport

I attended a public hearing today in Melbourne (Monday 30/3/09) of the "Inquiry into the investment of Commonwealth and State funds in public passenger transport infrastructure and services"

Senate inquiry public hearing in Melbourne on Monday 30/3/09

This first ever national inquiry into public transport was initiated by Greens for WA Senator Scott Ludlum and is being conducted by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Senate Committee.

The inquiry is covering:
  • Assessment of direct federal government funding for public transport infrastructure
  • Assessment of the benefits of public passenger transport, including integration with bicycle and pedestrian initiatives
  • Lack of useful public transport for many people in middle and outer areas of Melbourne and Victorian towns.
  • An audit of of Commonwealth and State funds in public passenger transport infrastructure and services
  • Measures by which the Commonwealth Government could facilitate improvement in public passenger transport services and infrastructure
  • The role of Commonwealth Government legislation, taxation, subsidies, policies and other mechanisms that either discourage or encourage public passenger transport (including perverse FBT incentives for people to drive their 'business" cars more).
  • Best practice international examples of public passenger transport services and infrastructure.
As Melbourne's population grows and the challenges of climate change and oil scarcity become more pressing, it's clear that the city will be disadvantaged without a massive injection of funding into mass public transit now. The chaos commuters experienced during the heatwaves early this year, may only be the tip of the iceberg.

I listened to the Victorian Government submission today and was surprised to hear that they think the two mega rail projects in the Victorian Transport Plan (the $4b Regional Rail Link for a new track from West Werribee to Southern Cross Station and the $4.5 billion Melbourne Metro – a new rail tunnel between the city’s west and east) are the highest priority public transport projects. They also claimed that long promised by never delivered rail lines to Donvale and Rowville could not be built due to "lack of core capacity" with the current rail network. I certainly do not believe they have presented sufficient evidence to justify these claims.

Taking public transport is a critical climate-friendly means of travel and reduces our reliance on the cars that are choking Melbourne. But you cannot user it if is not there.

I spoke with Senator Ludlum after the hearing; he informed me that submissions can still be made to this inquiry - at least up until this Friday (3/4/09).

If you have time, please write a submission about the need for federal funding for improved public transport, and for better integration with bicycle and pedestrian initiatives.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically as an attached document - email:

External links

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