Surprising result

By: Amie Hickland


The appointment of the new Victorian Public Transport Minister was unexpected

Key Victorian advocacy groups are expecting more emphasis on bus and public transport in the state following the results of the recent election.

Victorian Labor won the majority vote under Premier-elect Daniel Andrews.

Jacinta Allan was named as Minister for Public Transport under the newly elected Government, which came as a ‘surprise’ to the industry.

But the unexpected announcement is set to bring about some change in the industry, especially if Labor’s plan for Victoria’s bus network – a policy document released prior to the election – is put into action.

BusVic Executive Director Chris Lowe says the change in State Government is likely to bring more focus on bus.

"We’re a little bit surprised, as I think Jacinta was, but we’re very excited at the same time and we very much look forward to working with her," he says.

"We look forward to working with the new government to implement some of the policies that were outlined in their bus policy document released before the election."

Lowe says one of the significant points in the plan include $100 million to improve Victoria’s bus networks over four years.

The party has also indicated to BusVic they will expand their consultation process before any changes are made.

"We are pleased that they have adopted our suggested model of bringing the community and local government into the bus planning and design process," he says.

"We are also pleased they have indicated a strong focus on bus services in the outer suburbs – this is Melbourne’s greatest need."

Lowe says change is always necessary to keep things continuously improving.

"There have been parts of the last four years where there has been an opportunity to do things in bus but there was a lack of propensity to affect much change," he says. 

"The Conservative Government had a very strong focus on rail and we think Labor might have a greater focus on bus because they typically run more of a social agenda."

The East West Link project was also a major talking point this election.

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has reminded the new State Government that Victorian electors will hold them to their promise to cancel the East West Link project.

"We're very hopeful that this result in Victoria is where Australian politics starts to redeem itself," says PTUA President Tony Morton.

"No more backflips, no more lies, no more wishy-washy spin doctoring by politicians who don't do what they say.

"One clear message from this election result is that Victorians want public transport, and they neither want nor care for the East West Link toll road.

 "The new Andrews Government has a mandate to ensure the East West Link is dead and buried. There are countless reasons to do so."

Morton says the Government needs a vision for 21st century transport and city life to rival the world's other most liveable cities such as Vancouver, Copenhagen or Vienna.

"The world's great cities didn't get where they are by building roads, but by supporting sensitive urban development with excellent public transport, walking and cycling networks," he says.

"These are planned and managed by strong yet nimble public agencies with the right people and the right budget."

The Victorian state election was held on November 29.

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