Funding needed for Heathcote bus proposal
26 April 2017
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to fund additional bus services for the Heathcote to Bendigo corridor in next week’s State Budget.
Ms Ryan said Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan had been sitting on a proposal to provide a town bus service in Heathcote and additional services between Heathcote and Bendigo since October last year.
"For months now the Andrews Government has had a proposal to run a two hourly fixed route timetable operating from Heathcote to Bendigo between the hours of 7am and 7pm on weekdays and 8am and 5.30pm on weekends and public holidays,” Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said local residents often raised concerns that the existing Heathcote to Bendigo service was not frequent enough and did not operate on weekends or public holidays.
“A service like the one suggested would connect Heathcote and smaller communities like Knowsley and Axedale to more train services on the Bendigo line, provide access to LaTrobe University and other educational facilities in Bendigo and provide access to a wider range of employment opportunities for Heathcote residents,” Ms Ryan said.
“A Heathcote neighbourhood service has also been suggested to provide a small bus within town to help residents access the hospital, supermarket and other services and shops.
“Heathcote’s main street is almost five kilometres long, which makes it difficult for residents who cannot drive or who don’t have a car.
"It is estimated that 66 households in Heathcote don't own a car, while 40 per cent have only one vehicle.”
“It is disgraceful that Jacinta Allan, who is not just the Public Transport Minister but is also a MP for this region, has brushed off this proposal."
Ms Ryan said Labor’s own handpicked infrastructure advisory panel identified that Heathcote needed additional bus services in its statewide infrastructure plan last year.
“If the Andrews Labor Government can afford to provide $270 million in funding to build a new 5,000 seat stadium in Melbourne in this year’s State Budget, it can afford to fund regular and reliable public transport for Heathcote residents,” Ms Ryan said.