Town hall showdowns come to Melbourne


A recent public transport on-line poll underpins a series of people versus politicians Town Hall meetings rolling across Melbourne from next week

Town hall showdowns come to Melbourne
Town hall showdowns come to Melbourne

By David Goeldner | August 24, 2010

Labor, Liberal and Greens candidates will square off on public transport from next Monday in a series of town hall meetings across Melbourne in the lead up to Victoria’s state election.

Led by Metropolitan Transport Forum Chair Jacky Fristacky, the meetings follow the PT4ME2 ‘What Moves You’ people’s poll on public transport.

Fristacky says the poll results – based on a range of survey questions and voting categories – sends a message to politicians and government about what people want from public transport.

The PT4ME2 online poll coordinated by Fristacky and the MTF received 10,500 responses from 5,500 unique email addresses.

"Our recent online survey showed that people see improvements in public transport as a high priority," Fristacky says.

"There’s no doubt that public transport, planning and infrastructure will be major topics in the state election."

Speaking at a Brisbane transport summit recently, Fristacky says false notions about car ownership and decades of government neglect on public transport planning and infrastructure had led to a decline in economic productivity.

"Any government that says they can’t afford to invest in public transport is a ‘big con’ because the sums are not being done properly," Fristacky says.

"It’s costly not to invest in public transport."

She says a lack of infrastructure investment in public transport has been a drag on productivity in the past decade.

"High transport costs have had a negative impact on productivity as severe as that of high tariff protection until the turn around under Hawke and Keating," Fristacky says.

"Unless we deal with it our national productivity will continue to decline."

Fristacky says local Victorian public transport infrastructure and service delivery issues are likely to dominate the town hall meetings.

"The forums are an ideal opportunity for the public to hear the parties’ plans for improved public transport and ask questions about important local services," she says.

"We are anticipating that the public’s attention will swing to key state issues like public transport, planning and infrastructure."

Fristacky says topics for discussion will be drawn from the PT4ME2 polling results.

The poll’s biggest vote winners across all modes and regions surveyed were for more frequent services, less overcrowding and greater reliability, the PT4ME2 report says.

"There was strong support for extending services to growth areas and extending hours of service."

Fristacky says the frequency and reliability of public transport is the ‘absolute key’.

The public forums will be held at Melbourne, St Kilda, Brunswick, Richmond, Box Hill and Maribyrnong town halls from August 30 to September 13.

The
public transport
poll results are at www.pt4me2.org.au

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