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Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Page: 7795

Mr BILLSON (9:43 AM) —I rise today to draw attention to what seems to be a lack of genuine forward planning by the Brumby state government when it comes to road and public transport provision in the electorate that I represent and for the broader Mornington Peninsula. There was much fanfare when Frankston was declared a transit city in 2004, but it seems that that may have been more a statement of name than a statement of purpose. If Frankston was truly a transit city then the Eastlink Tollway—remember this was the Scoresby Freeway, which was supposed to be without tolls—and the Frankston bypass would be built toll free. Then we saw on the front page of the Herald Sun yesterday and again in the voter poll in the Herald Sun today the great strength in support for a toll-free Frankston bypass. Imagine the surprise of the community that I represent, having been promised a toll-free freeway, to have the state Labor government completely change its mind just months after the election where it promised a commitment of that kind.

Now we see with the Frankston bypass, a key arterial link feeding into Eastlink to relieve some of the enormous congestion that is happening through the city of Frankston, that it is being canvassed with Connect East, the builder of Eastlink, to see whether that too can be a tollway. Imagine our surprise. That would see, some 60 kilometres away from the CBD in Melbourne, people in the community that I represent having to pay tolls to use not only the arterial ring-road—and we in the south, south-east and east of Melbourne are the only community which pays to use the arterial ring-road—but a key bypass feeding into the ring-road also with a toll. You can imagine the frustration in the community that I represent when the decision was made to impose tolls on Scoresby and rename it Eastlink. Dandenong got a toll-free bypass, which just came out of the sky—a compensatory project, you might suggest, for the pain, hurt and anger of the tolls.

There was an extension to the light rail at Knox—a great project but, again, a way of compensating for the harm of the imposition of the tolls. The Ringwood Bypass was toll free, but when you get down to Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula you see that, while the need for a bypass has been exacerbated by the toll road, that bypass is being canvassed as another potential toll road.

If the state government were interested in Frankston as a transit city, it would tackle these transport bottlenecks. It would recognise that the Frankston railway line needs to be extended at least to Baxter. At Baxter we should have a comprehensive park-and-ride facility so that we can integrate our transport modes. The attractiveness of the Stony Point rail line could be improved through shorter distances and a greater frequency of service. We would have a CBD flyer, a metro flyer, that would bypass many of the stations along the way to Melbourne and establish Frankston as a genuine transit centre to attract new investment and to even be the Parramatta of Melbourne, a satellite city offering all that people would want. We are a long way from the CBD and such investments would be part of planning for the future of the region I represent.