Aurora Community Association (ACA) Transport Campaigning
7 February 2018
ACA and Whittlesea Council
More local advocacy contributions are very much needed in the campaign for a train line to Wollert. The train line is a political (not an urban planning) issue and there is a need to influence government Members of Parliament in general. MPs are especially influenced when a cause is supported by large numbers who will back their cause with voting choices at elections. The current situation for government MPs is that there is no evidence of widespread support for the Wollert train line and that advocacy is only coming from a small minority. Political thinking tends to be along the lines of
- government funding for the O’Herns Road interchange is more than enough for the Epping North precinct,
- future train line extensions can only start after the Metro rail tunnel is completed,
- a rapid transit bus service is a cheap alternative to a train line which can be implemented much quicker,
- future transport funding is especially needed in marginal seats and
- government transport funding must give preference to mega-road projects.
In reality the rapid bus transit service is nowhere near comparable to a train service and will delay the train line indefinitely. Unfortunately, a majority of campaigners for other rail extension projects are not likely to take much interest in the Wollert train line because they see it as competing for limited resources and funding.
The precinct of Epping North has many residents who are new arrivals to Australia from non-English speaking countries. Some such countries are likely to be run by authoritarian governments where advocacy from the general population is unknown or not accepted. The new arrivals may even feel obligated not to be critical of Australian governments in return for being granted Australian citizenship or residency. Limited English may also discourage advocacy. This makes it easy for MPs in other electorates to argue their government funding requests deserve preference because of limited advocacy in the Epping North precinct.
Additional and wider roads are needed in Epping North and Wollert but without a train line they will only attract more cars and trucks which will result in more congestion. Those not supporting the train line because they will not use it, need to understand that their driving will benefit from other drivers switching to rail. With the prediction of a huge and rapid increase in the local population, the huge need for the Wollert train is urgent. Without the train, liveability in the precinct of Epping North will plunge. In the hope, of strengthening the campaign for the Wollert train line, at least five cases are being presented of people in Epping North and Wollert experiencing major stress and hardship because of inadequate local transport services. A lot of people writing their own stress and hardship cases would help greatly. It would be appreciated if such case reports are sent to
- the ACA at firstname.lastname@example.org for posting on the internet (either on the ACA website or a new ACA Transport Working Group website),
- the ACA Transport Working Group Facebook page (currently ‘Get Epping Moving’) and
- Members of Parliament such as Bronwyn Halfpenny.
Please indicate if names can be made public or if withholding of names is preferred where possible.
A 1-2 minute video on YouTube might be worth considering as an alternative to something in writing. A video that goes viral would make a great impact and help hugely with transport campaigning. Some local dashcam video could be used. ACA assistance might be possible for making the video. Local school involvement with family support in written and video case studies could make a world of difference. The fifth case study appears below.
Case study five
Reference: City Of Whittlesea 2017 – Epping North and Wollert Community Case Studies
B____ is 16 and he lives in Epping North with his mother; she is the only family that he has. She works fulltime and takes two hours to drive to and from work each day.
They moved to Epping North to escape the bad crowd that B____ had connected with but in reality that was not such a great idea. There are not many teenagers living in the new community and he feels very isolated. He is trying hard to manage his attraction to alcohol and other drugs but he is finding it very hard to do so on his own. When he lived in Thornbury he used to obtain help from YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service) in Fitzroy but unfortunately to travel there would require a long walk to the nearest bus stop, then taking a bus, train and tram. Compounding his problems is that there isn’t anything like YSAS in the local area. He could get some support from the Edge Youth Services in Mill Park but again that would involve a long walk and a bus trip. So until he can get to a relevant service more readily he is forced to manage on his own.