30 October 2018
Property buy up for Epping line stalls
PLANS for a $600 million train line connecting Epping North and Wollert are going nowhere fast, with the State Government admitting land for the line is yet to be bought.
Last December, Thomastown state Labor MP Bronwyn Halfpenny told the Leader acquisition of the final 14 per cent of land set aside for the rail corridor would be a “major step forward” for the train line to be built.
It came after a Whittlesea Council paper stated Transport for Victoria was actively seeking to buy properties on the land set aside for the corridor.
However, almost a year on Ms Halfpenny said the Government was still in negotiations with both private and public landowners with “no funding” committed to build the rail line.
Aurora Community Association spokesman Tony Francis said after 10 years of campaigning he did not think the Labor or Liberal parties regarded the extension as a priority.
The council’s population estimates reveal the number of people living in Epping North is expected to rise from 28,000 in 2017 to 55,000 by 2041.
Mr Francis said a lack of rail and accompanying public spaces meant Epping estates risked becoming little more than “dormitories” for commuters working in inner Melbourne.
Transport for Victoria spokeswoman Tanya O’Shea said the Government would not use a public acquisition overlay to acquire land.
Whittlesea Mayor Kris Pavlidis said land needed for the rail line should be bought “as soon as possible”.
Northern Metropolitan state Liberal MP Craig Ondarchie did not respond to Leader’s questions about whether the Liberal Party would build a rail to Wollert if elected in November.