23 February 2012
COUNCILS in Melbourne’s outer suburbs are in dire need of significant government funding to fix poor infrastructure and lack of public transport in their municipalities.
Representatives from Wyndham, Brimbank, Hume, Whittlesea and Casey councils told the 150-plus audience at the Metropolitan Transport Forum last night roads and transport services in their municipalities needed to be greatly improved.
Wyndham Council Deputy Mayor Glenn Goodfellow said the city did not have enough arterial roads and adequate bus services to cope with its growing population.
“We need four lanes in our arterial roads rather than two, it should have been done decades ago, it is causing a choking effect,” he said.
Cr Goodfellow said homes in Point Cook were more than 400 metres from a bus stop.
“The lack of public transport and arterial roads are the single biggest impediments in the outer growth suburbs. It is simply not good enough.”
He also spoke about the need for additional train stations on the Werribee line.
Brimbank Council administrator Meredith Sussex told the meeting VicRoads had not built any significant roads without Commonwealth money since the 1970s.
Ms Sussex said planning for Brimbank’s cycling and walking networks were just as important as transport and road infrastructure plans.
Hume Council senior strategic transport planner Janet Rice said while the city’s new housing estates had sufficient bus ready streets, there were still major problems on what happened beyond the estates.
Whittlesea Council communications and advocacy general manager Griff Davis based his presentation around the human aspect of its transport and infrastructure problems.
Mr Davis said Whittlesea was one of the 11 most disadvantaged municipalities in Melbourne in terms of transport, roads, education and health services.
He said because of inadequate public transport, residents across the municipality were heavily car dependant.
“Households spend a misappropriate amount of money operating cars to access schools and health services,” Mr Davis said.
“Public transport deficiencies in new residential developments foster isolation.”
Casey Council transport manager Paul Hamilton blamed the city’s congested roads and lack of public transport for the reason why residents could not get to their jobs.
“The majority of our residents leave the municipality each day to go to work. They go to Dandenong, Knox and Kingston, but these employment areas are not well serviced by public transport.”
Mr Hamilton said new housing estates in the city were not serviced by buses and the Government had not made any commitments as to when the Cranbourne line would be extended.
RMIT social science and planning Professor Michael Buxton said the more he listened to these types of presentations the angrier he got.
Prof Buxton called Melbourne’s outer urban planning a “shocking mess” and said the Government needed to listen to the city’s problems.
“The best hope for the residents of Melbourne involves community groups, strong action, because we are not going to get it from the bureaucracy and I’m sad to say we won’t get it from local government.”
GAA chief executive officer Peter Seamer said there were a whole range of issues that needed to be looked at before things were to change.