Napthine needs to 'inject dose of realism': Mees


Transport academic is calling on Victoria’s new premier to develop a more "realistic" approach towards transport projects

Napthine needs to 'inject dose of realism': Mees
Napthine needs to 'inject dose of realism': Mees

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | March 12, 2013

A transport academic is calling on Victoria’s new premier to develop a more "realistic" approach towards transport projects, saying there is little funding available for its wish list.

RMIT University lecturer in transport planning Paul Mees believes Denis Napthine has a big task ahead of him in changing the Department of Transport’s "can’t do" attitude.

"What I hope Napthine will do is inject a dose of realism into those discussions and start operating on the principle that we do what we can afford rather than what we’d like to do if there was a fairy godmother who just gave us money," Mees says.

"The Commonwealth Government funds transport out of its Building Australia Fund which has about $5 billion there at the moment and that’s intended to pay for projects throughout the whole of Australia.

"It’s just crazy for Victoria to be pretending it can get $30 billion out of the funds it has."

He believes the new leader’s ports portfolio might be taken over by Roads Minister Terry Mulder. However, Mees has criticised Mulder’s efforts in his current portfolio.

"There’s a certain logic about having Mulder responsible but he hasn’t shown a great deal of energy in shaking things up in the public transport side of his portfolio to date, which I might say is one of the things that probably hurt Baillieu politically because Baillieu talked up the idea that they were going to do things for public transport before the election and then after the election it all disappeared," he says.

"The Department of Transport is a big problem. They have a can’t do culture and if this government wants to shake off its reputation for being a do-nothing government it is going to need to tackle that culture in the department and transform it into a can-do culture which they already down at VicRoads have."

Baillieu resigned as the premier and leader of the Victorian Liberal Party last week.

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