Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:03):My question is to Minister Pulford representing the Minister for Public Transport. I ask the minister to detail the government’s plans to ensure public transport infrastructure in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne is operating at peak capacity and offers the most attractive solution for travelling during the construction of the north-east link project. The north-east link is a much-needed and welcome project in our car-dependent suburbs, but it is not without issues and will cause major disruptions. I believe we need plans in place now to make sure that people are diverted onto public transport and not onto rat runs through the suburbs. With early works for the north-east link predicted to begin as early as next year, I ask the minister what plans are in place to increase public transport capacity during the north-east link construction and can these works be expedited to encourage motorists out of their cars and onto the train and bus networks?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Roads, Minister for Road Safety and the TAC, Minister for Fishing and Boating) (12:04): I thank Mr Barton for his question and his interest in this very significant project, and we look forward to the speedy delivery of it for the benefit of Victorians that are on the roads or on public transport alike.
I certainly assure the member that in the planning for this project every effort is going into making sure that the disruption for the Victorian community is minimised, that congestion management is undertaken in the most effective possible way and of course that public transport use is also optimised throughout what is going to be quite a long period of construction and a very significant and complex project. I will seek further information from the Minister for Public Transport as you requested. I look forward to providing you with a response from that minister.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:05):Thank you, Minister. The Hurstbridge line has been flagged by Infrastructure Australia as a major problem, with its single-line sections and irregular services having flow-on effects down the line. Second stage upgrades on the Hurstbridge line are scheduled to begin in 2020. I ask the minister: will she review stage 2 Hurstbridge line plans with maximum efficiency in mind and bring those works forward to ensure our public transport system hits the ground running when the north-east link project begins?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Roads, Minister for Road Safety and the TAC, Minister for Fishing and Boating) (12:05): I can certainly assure the house that the government will be taking every step available to us to minimise the disruption and the impact on communities by the delivery of this project. For the specific questions that you have asked in relation to the Hurstbridge line, I will seek a response from the Minister for Public Transport.