24 April 2012

Western suburbs State Labor MPs have joined together calling on the Baillieu Government to recognise the growth and vital transport needs to their communities in the 2012/13 State Budget.

State Member for Tarneit Tim Pallas,  Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan, Member
for Melton Don Nardella, Member for Altona Jill Hennessy, Member for  Kororoit, Marlene Kairouz, Member for Keilor Natalie Hutchins, Member for Footscray Marsha Thomson said Melbourne’s west would continue to attract a greater share of Victoria’s population growth, estimated to grow to 1.08 million in 2031.

The Members said Melbourne was a city with a distinct East-West physical, demographic and infrastructure imbalance. The Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers currently limit the number of river crossings for road and rail traffic.

“The Baillieu Government must meet the pressing needs of this growing community and invest in vital transport infrastructure,” the Members said.

“It is apparent that Melbourne’s west must be better connected with the rest of Melbourne, thus reducing the over reliance on the Westgate Bridge.”

The Labor MPs said the Government must proceed with the truck action plan that the Brumby Government committed $40 million to preliminary works.

The Baillieu Government’s halting of work and re-allocation of these funds in early 2011 has meant that strategies to reduce truck traffic on residential streets in Melbourne’s inner west and to improve freight access from the West to the Port of Melbourne had ceased.

It is important that the Baillieu Government start the project which they stalled.

“The State Budget must fund solutions to redirect thousands of trucks away from residential streets in the inner-west,” the MPs said. People in the inner west have a right to expect the State Government to do something in this Budget to take trucks off their streets, waiting is not an option.”

“The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel between Dynon in the west and Domain would benefit
the whole metropolitan rail network and would create more rail capacity on the
Craigieburn, Sydenham, Werribee, Williamstown and Upfield lines.

“This vital project would better link the people of the western suburbs to education and
job opportunities in precincts around Parkville and St. Kilda.

“Outer western suburban metropolitan arterial roads grade separations (in particular
Main Rd, St. Albans) and safety improvements need to be rolled out.

“With many western suburban roads at or over capacity and with high volumes of freight activity these upgrades will be critical to the amenity and safety of the community.

“The Baillieu Government invested only $4.8million in new arterial road spending on metro Melbourne and the poverty of investment is hurting our communities.

“The Melton Highway is the highest priority for the Melton township to eliminate the dangerous dip and single lane road in the fastest growing Australian region so no further accidents and deaths occur in the future.

“The Government needs to invest in the duplication of the Melton Hwy and the upgrade of the Kings Road and Taylors Road intersection in Delahey.”

Prior to the last election, the Liberal Party promised to “invest in the West” and to “fix the problems.” After an inauspicious start with broken promises and Western Suburban transport projects de-prioritised (Hoppers Crossing premium station) or halted (Truck Action Plan).

“This budget presents an opportunity for Ted Baillieu to start to meet the expectations he
so confidently aspired before the last election,” the MPs said.

“Having failed to provide a single dollar for roads projects or an additional bus service to assist residents across the Altona electorate in last year’s budget, demand and expectations are very high this year. The government must act.”

Investment in transport infrastructure creates jobs and communities. With joblessness in the electorates Derrimut(11.1%), Footscray (8.2%), Tarneit (7.34%), Altona (7.17%) and Kororoit (7.1%) all in the top ten highest areas for unemployment in Victoria, the Baillieu Government must develop a plan that will create employment, grow the growth communities and get moving with the business of keeping Victorians moving:

1)   SecondRiver Crossing

2)   Proposed Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel

3)   Truck Action Plan

4)   Electrification of rail services to Melton

5)   Western Intermodal Freight Terminal

6)   Outer Metropolitan Roads Investment

“The Liberal Government is back to its old tricks, It has dumped the Caroline Springs
Station project,” the MPs said.

“CarolineSprings residents deserve this station as promised, funded and budgeted for by theformer Labor Government. This Liberal Government has chosen to ignore the Western suburbs and its own department’s priority list in order to pork-barrel Liberal and National Party seats.

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