I present this motion today because I have a sincere interest in improving public transport services across Victoria, particularly in Melbourne. As you know, my background is in the taxi and hire car industry, and I see this industry as an integral part of our public transport system. Our trams, trains and buses deliver services across the city and out into our regional areas, but as part of that system our commercial passenger vehicles deliver on the first and last mile and in particular for the most vulnerable—those who are sick, those who are frail, those who are young and at risk, the elderly and those travelling late at night.
I asked Minister Jennings to share details of the agencies included in and the responsibilities of the new mega transport department and whether there will be any job losses resulting from the agency mergers and any new ministerial roles in this new mega agency.
Mr BARTON: I also want to say one other thing. I am also very happy that the Maggies are up and about, President, but the highlight of the week for me is my daughter. Throughout her pregnancy the baby was referred to as ‘Marshmallow’. She was born on Monday. We have now got the very gorgeous Madison Paige. So thank you
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (09:50): Around three years ago I sat down at a dinner table with a couple of my mates, Mr Andre Baruch and Nadav Prawer. Nadav is a lawyer, and we were discussing the illegal entry into Victoria of Uber. That evening set the wheels in motion that brought us to 3 May, when the law firm Maurice Blackburn filed in the Supreme Court a class action against Uber. We started this originally just for our original members, but this has now grown to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. This is going to be the largest class action this country has ever seen. I am very happy to be able to say that, and I am very proud of all of those people who have joined together to tell Uber that they are not making the rules. I am very happy about that.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (18:04): The matter I raise tonight is for the Minister for Public Transport, Minister Horne. I ask the minister for an update on the progress of planning and design works on the Rowville public transport extension. In April last year the Labor government announced $3 million for design and planning works for a train or rail extension between Caulfield and Rowville. At the time they said these works would be complete in a year—tick-tock. The 2018–19 federal budget also promised $475 million over a five-year period towards construction of a heavy rail line to service Monash.
In talks with Knox council this week we reviewed their public transport vision. The council’s preference is to run heavy rail from Huntingdale through to Rowville. They expressed concerns that stopping at Monash would disadvantage those travelling from the east and that any future business case for a further extension would never stack up if only part of the project was completed now.
Commuters in the eastern suburbs are car captives, the public transport offerings to move around these areas are minimal, and this contributes significantly to increasing congestion on our freeways and roads. 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 education opportunities to local residents and those travelling from new suburbs further out. However, getting to work by public transport is almost impossible and car congestion in the area is a nightmare and will only get worse. So I ask the minister to release the findings of the planning and design works through to Rowville or provide an explanation of why this project has been delayed.