Time to Knox some heads together

It's refreshing to see that the entire eastern suburbs of Melbourne is not in fact completely the captive of the car and roads lobby. As depressing as it has been recently to see candidates trying to outbid each other to show their dedication to wider, longer, faster, cheaper roads.

Tonight (Thursday) was a public meeting facilitated by the City of Knox, and its focus was putting the Rowville train line on the political agenda. The Rowville train line has been a proposal which has done the rounds for years, but never managed to move beyond being a good idea. Branching off from the Dandenong line at Huntingdale, it would run past Mulgrave, the late Waverley Park, Monash, Rowville and Stud Park, requiring only a couple of kilometres of track to reach a vast swathe of eastern Melbourne. And at a fraction of the cost of the Mitcham-Frankston monolith.

The crux of the problem identified was the question of who would pay for the construction. The Federal Government have run the rather mean-spirited argument that it is solely the State Government's responsibility to fund public transport. So there. Nyah, nyah nyah nyaaaaah, nyah. Except that it is also the State Gov's responsibility to fund roads.... but the Feds will pay for some of that through the "Roads of National Significance" programme. So with the Feds unwilling to contribute money and the State Government without the dough, the line remains unbuilt.

The City of Knox have done an excellent job of focussing on public transport, and are doing everything they can to prevent the eastern suburbs from being more of a public transport-free ghetto than they are at the moment. Other councils, and other levels of government, can learn plenty from the Knox example. Now let's get this thing on track.

Comments

Polly said…
shame you had to leave when you did, Ari. You missed the CEC candidate's speech (about world war II, Lord Stanley Bruce, the Weimar republic, Nazis and nuclear power) and Q&A. :)

I think one of the most important points made by Councillor Gill and Professor Russell was that Federal governments (such as the Hawke government) have funded urban public rail transport projects in the past, and certainly have the power to do so, so Knox council's strategy about campaigning for the Huntingdale-Rowville trainline in a federal campaign logical. As a Mulgrave resident, dealing with huge peak hour east-west congestion, I don't really care which level of government funds the train line, so long as it finally gets built.
urban creature said…
I'm going to let my classmates discuss this on our website - civilpandemonium.com.

I must warn you though, we're all stressed out with essays and the like at the moment, but I'm sure a few procrastinators will contribute something.
Alex Makin said…
Ari,

It's good to see some commentary on the Knox meeting.
Knox Council is indeed the leading voice on public transport in not just the outer east, but also for most of Metropolitan Melbourne. For example, while the City of Knox has funded this feasibility study, what has the City of Yarra done? Why hasn't the City of Yarra conducted a feasbility study on the Doncaster East rail line for instance?

I would hardly say that the entire eastern suburbs are captive to the car lobby, but unfortunately most outer eastern residents have not experienced a working public transport system, this therefore hampers the role that residents see for public transport.

Ultimately it will take the voice of residents that gets 'this thing on track'. It is great to see Knox leading this initiative and other outer eastern councils must follow this.

In the mean time Knox Council deserve congratulations.

Alex Makin

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