Whittlesea Council Website
8 May 2014
Complete the heavy rail extension to Epping North and Wollert
We are asking the State Government to fund the extension of the train line from Lalor Station to Epping North and Wollert.
There are compelling economic, social and amenity reasons why the Epping North rail line is needed immediately, aside from acknowledging a likely time delay of 3-5 years for delivery of this service and an additional 55,000 residents.
The Aurora Town Centre will be providing community needs and commercial services to the wider region.
Early delivery of the Epping North train extension is important given that the nearby Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market will open in 2014 and will lead to the creation of 10,000 of the anticipated 23,000 jobs for the Cooper Street Employment Precinct.
It’s also necessary to provide access to The Northern Hospital and the wider medical precinct and Epping Plaza.
How you can help
You can help create change on this important issue by:
- emailing or writing to the following Members of Parliament :
- Minister for Public Transport and Roads, Terry Mulder
- Shadow Minister for Public Transport, Fiona Richardson
- Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Craig Ondarchie
- Shadow Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Jenny Mikakos
- emailing your local member of Parliament
- supporting the local resident action campaigns and groups, Aurora Community Association (ACA)
Less than 2% of residents in the City of Whittlesea have convenient access to heavy rail and this percentage is reducing due to our growing communities and despite the extension of the Epping railway line to South Morang.
For our new residents to access services and jobs they must drive or use infrequent, sparsely located multiple bus services. This makes community members heavily reliant on cars for transport.
It pushes already rising living costs even higher for mortgage stressed families, and is detrimental to the environment.
Epping North contains one of Victoria’s largest integrated urban developments, and eventually will be home to around 44,000 people including two medium sized activity centres in the VicUrban (now Places Victoria) site ‘Aurora’ and 32,000 will live in Wollert.
Heavy rail provision has been integrated into VicUrban’s ‘Aurora’ design, encouraging high density development at the station nodes.
Without this train service, new and existing residents are at a disadvantage.
These residents are appealing for a train service and this position builds on the results of Council’s community forums in which transport access is a number one priority.
All of the above factors will be exacerbated within the next 5-10 years with the establishment of additional growth areas through Wollert and Donnybrook as part of the wider Northern Growth Corridor currently under State Government planning consideration.
Developers have already indicated their intent to commence urban development following the approval of relevant Precinct Structure Plans for these areas.
Timely provision of the proposed heavy rail service will benefit the community regionally by reducing reliance on car travel thereby reducing household costs of living, easing traffic congestion and substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
An economic study of a rail extension to South Morang by Spiller Gibbons Swan1, detailed benefits common to most rail extension projects. These ‘transferrable benefits’ reveal that the Epping North rail extension could:
- enable every 1,000 households to avoid the purchase of a second car, generating total cost savings of around $30,000 per household or $30 million in community savings
- increase employment, education, training and social opportunities by increasing mobility, especially among vulnerable groups
- improve the access of vulnerable groups to health care, education and shopping
- create infrastructure cost savings that would cut the price of a $300,000 house and land package by $9,000 to $27,000
- allow developers to confidently provide a significantly greater diversity of housing types, including more affordable housing on compact lots and in medium density housing forms
- cut traffic volumes and road accidents, noise, air pollution and residential disruption
- take the equivalent of 11,000 cars off the road
- cut greenhouse gas emissions by a value of $500,000 per year
- around $81 million annual value added increase to the northern Melbourne economy, by avoiding costs and reinvesting in productive resources
- encourage a further 1,600 permanent new jobs across the metropolitan area
The planning and delivery of residential development in the area would also be boosted because:
- higher density housing could be developed around Epping Central station, creating vibrant urban communities
- land value capture opportunities for public sector land holders in the area would open up
- development yields would increase by up to 20 per cent over the next 20 years
It is expected that the Epping North and Wollert heavy rail extensions will cost in the order of $300-500 million (2010 prices).
Last updated 08 May 2014