Kickstart for Suburban Rail Loop is One Station too Short!
The government has announced 2.2billion for initial early works to begin on the Suburban Rail Loop’s first six stations. Rod Barton is concerned that not including Doncaster in Stage One will have a negative impact upon the City of Manningham’s liveability and the project’s overall budget.
The Suburban Rail Loop, once complete, will create an orbital loop that connects every major rail line, hospital, retail centre, and university hubs in metropolitan Melbourne. Yesterday, the government confirmed that it is allocated 2.2billion in funding for the project’s early works in the Victorian budget.
From next year, initial works and room for tunnel boring machines will commence in Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood, and Box Hill. This will create 800 new jobs and lay the foundations for construction to start in 2022.
This a major win for public transport in Victoria!
Yet disappointingly, it is one station too short!!
It is well known that from an engineering perspective, that the stage from Box Hill to Doncaster will be the most complex part of the Suburban Rail Loop project. Thus, it will require additional time and funding to complete it to a satisfactory level.
As it stands, the full service from Cheltenham to Werribee won’t be completed for approximately 50 years.
This is simply too long for Doncaster residents to wait.
Doncaster is located in the City of Manningham, which is the only metropolitan municipality that is not connected to rail and relies solely on bus services; this has resulted in overcrowded bus services, forced car ownership, high private vehicle usage, and extensive traffic congestion.
In addition, the City of Manningham has been waiting for over 130 years for rail services. This is despite the government repeatedly proposing and promising rail for Doncaster for decades.
Rail to Doncaster has never eventuated and has left thousands of residents disappointed and frustrated with the government.
It is time that changed.
Moreover, as Victoria’s third-largest shopping precinct, Doncaster Westfield has a turnover of $825 million per year, creates over a thousand jobs, and sees over 15 million customer visits annually!
This is set to dramatically increase over the next few years as Doncaster Westfield’s $30million development wraps up this year and their long-term $500million development set to create an additional 43,000m2 of retail space, 18,000m2 of commercial office space, over 2,000 jobs in construction and 2,900 additional long-term jobs upon completion.
Connecting Doncaster to the Suburban Rail Loop will not only boost Victoria’s economy but will create additional job opportunities and draw thousands of shoppers to Doncaster’s retail precinct by public transport.
Furthermore, Doncaster’s increasing high-density population means that procuring land for a station will only become more expensive and difficult the longer it is left on stand-by.
Adding Doncaster to Stage One simply makes logical sense!
It is for this reason that Rod Barton, Member for Eastern Metropolitan, urges the government and the Minister for Transport, Ben Carroll, to extend Stage 1 one station further and connect Doncaster to rail for once and for all.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
‘The Suburban Rail Loop project is an important public transport infrastructure project that will better connect Victoria’s hospitals, universities, and retail industries.’
‘Adding Doncaster to Stage One of the Suburban Rail Loop simply makes logical sense!’
‘The City of Manningham has been waiting for rail for over 130 years and is the sole metropolitan municipality that functions on bus services alone. Not only is Manningham vastly under-serviced, their rapidly increasing population density means it simply cannot wait twenty plus years for better public transport.’