Friday, February 14, 2014

Former planning advisor tells Victorians to change their vote

Roz Hansen

A former key planning advisor to Napthine's government hit out at inadequate public transport funding in Victoria telling a Melbourne transport audience to change their vote.   

Professor Roz Hansen, former chair of the Plan Melbourne Advisory Committee, told dissatisfied Melburnians on Saturday to use pressure on politicians to deliver transport infrastructure. 

She said to “change your vote” when transport was not funded. “Don’t vote for them next time."

Hansen caused a stir in December when she told a Melbourne City Council meeting the majority of the state government’s planning advisory committee had resigned and dissociated themselves with the government’s Plan Melbourne strategy.

From May 2012 until August 2013, Hansen chaired the advisory committee selected by the Napthine government to oversee the development of the metropolitan planning strategy.

Countering Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s comment that “Roz has always had a problem with road transport”, she said it was “ludicrous to be saying I am anti-roads.”

But she said there is “too much focus on large road based projects that only meet the needs of some Melbournians.  Some will benefit, but many will not benefit”.

There are “real deficiencies”, she said, in public transport beyond the ten kilometre mark running the risk of social exclusion for residents living in middle and outer Melbourne.

“We need to service middle suburbs.  We need a bus rapid-transit system.”

Hansen argued Melbourne’s population was now expected to reach 7.5 to 8 million people by 2050 and the number of people using public transport, cycling and walking needed to double.

“It is ludicrous to be building green-field estates with bus stops and no buses.  It is socially irresponsible.”

She said Victoria should redirect funding from the East West Link across metropolitan Melbourne and “improve lives of people on a daily basis”.

“I am not anti the East West Link, but I am anti it being the number one infrastructure project.”

“Everyone has to lead on this.  Don’t let the politicians get away with spending money on road projects that benefit few,” she said.

Professor Graham Currie from Monash University’s Institute of transport Studies joined Hansen in lamenting Victoria’s funding on public transport arguing the current commitment to two bus routes and one rail link was “woefully inadequate”.

Currie and Hansen were speaking at a transport forum, Transport for 6 million, as part of the Sustainability Festival at Federation Square.

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