Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (18:24): The matter I raise tonight is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure. I ask the minister for an update on the progress of the planning and design works for the Rowville public transport extension.
In April 2018 the Labor government announced $3 million for a 12-month design and planning project for a train or rail extension between Caulfield and Rowville. The 2018–19 federal budget also promised $475 million over a five-year period towards construction of a heavy rail line to service Monash. When pressed on the project in July last year, the minister’s office said the Rowville project was now tied to the location of the Monash station on the Suburban Rail Loop. We wait patiently for news of this station’s final location.
However, it has been two years since project funding was announced and some 60 years since this much-needed link in our public transport was first floated. It is high time that people along the proposed route had some news. Commuters in the eastern suburbs are car captives. The public transport offerings to move between these areas are minimal, which contributes significantly to increasing congestion on our freeways and our roads. The businesses along the proposed extension in Knox and Monash generate almost $27 billion to our state and national economy. These business communities are expanding rapidly, offering jobs, apprenticeships and educational opportunities to local residents and those travelling from new suburbs further out. So I ask the minister to release the findings of the planning and design works through to Rowville and to release the time line for construction to begin