TWU looks to mend relationship with Vic Coalition

Victorian Transport Workers Union says it hopes for a better relationship with a Coalition government

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 29, 2010

As Victorians face political uncertainty under a caretaker government, with Labor expected to concede defeat today, the Victorian Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it hopes for a better relationship with the Coalition.

In an early response to the expected outcome, TWU spokesman John Halloran says the previous Liberal government had refused to speak to the TWU.

"That was due to Jeff Kennett, who was a fairly aggressive politician," Halloran says.

"Whether Ted Baillieu will be the same remains to be seen; we need to live with the government and we don’t want to go to war against them, we hope we have a fruitful relationship with them but at this stage it’s early to know."

The Government has lost 12 seats, with voters
delivering a 6.1 percent swing against the Labor Government.

Premier John Brumby had said at the weekend that the most likely result is a hung Parliament.

The Coalition leads by four seats, up from Labor’s 41.

Halloran says he hopes the likely new government does not neglect the freight issue of Melbourne’s ports.

"It’s what the new government does about the transport change the previous government had is place, particularly in areas of freight movement around the western suburbs of Melbourne; we hope they’re not going to abandon all that because it’s very important for our industry that we have extra east-west crossing to relieve the pressure on the Westgate and to overcome the drama we have with the local residents in Footscray and Yarraville (calling on a truck curfew)," he says.

"Any party that has been in power for 11 years run out of puff, you start on day one with a certain amount of political credit but it erodes away over the years."

Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) says it hopes for a Coalition’s win as it believes it
will bring long-awaited changed to the public transport system.

PTUA President Daniel Bowen believes public transport has been a negative for the Labor Government as voters deserted it in droves.

"There have been a lot of well-publicised problems in public transport and four of the seats that Labor lost are along the Frankston line which has the worst punctuality on any line on the Melbourne network," Bowen says.

"There’s a clear swing that people were angry about public transport and the Brumby Government has paid the price."

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