New research supports Nationals’ decentralisation agenda
15 June 2018
Regional Victoria requires fast, reliable and frequent rail connections to capital cities to improve liveability, according to new research from RMIT University’s Centre for Urban Research.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the research, released this week, validated The Nationals’ plan to invest in regional rail.
“We have already set out our plan to invest $633 million to completely replace Victoria’s aged fleet of long haul trains,” Ms Ryan said.
“Regional communities need reliable and efficient public transport connections.
“Victoria’s population is growing at a rate of 147,000 people every year, but 130,000 of those people are settling in Melbourne.
“This population growth is an opportunity, not a burden but only if we develop a sustainable plan for decentralisation of Victoria’s population.
“This research shows that, whether it’s for employment, education, medical services, shopping, arts and culture or visiting friends and family, people living in regional areas need to be able to access capital cities.”
Ms Ryan said the report found that while previous research had established the need for public transport development in Melbourne’s growth areas, less attention has been given to public transport in regional areas.
“Unsurprisingly the report found that Victoria’s rail connections to Melbourne are highly uneven,” Ms Ryan said.
“For lines like Shepparton and the north east line, the research shows an average wait time of between 3-6 hours for a train to Melbourne.
“Shepparton, whose population is forecast to expand to 315,000 by 2046, has only four train services to Melbourne every day, compared to the 27 services from Bendigo.
“The Nationals believe the need for improved public transport connections in regional Victoria needs to be addressed now, otherwise we are just waiting for the problem to get worse.
“Under Daniel Andrews Victoria’s population has grown by more than 400,000 but we have not seen any plan from Labor to decentralise the population in a sustainable way.
“We have also seen a great reluctance to invest in regional rail, including no new rolling stock for the north east line.”
The report can be found at www.cur.org.au/news-and-blog/