Gowrie Station remains as a zone 2 station after the State budget was handed down on May 1. Local residents of Fawkner and Hadfield have been pressing for Gowrie Station to be changed to Zone 1 status in a campaign over the last year.
In January Bronwyn Halfpenny, the local State member for Thomastown who represents Fawkner in State parliament, called on Transport Minister Mr Terry Mulder to tell Fawkner residents why “they must pay zone 2 public transport fares from a rail station that should clearly be in zone 1”. She explained in a news article in January 2012 in the Moreland Leader that Gowrie’s zoning is an anomaly and an inequity to local residents.
“Gowrie station is about 14km from Melbourne, the closest station from the CBD to be in zone 2,” Ms Halfpenny said. “It is only 1600m along the Upfield line from Fawkner station, which is in zone 1. For that 1600m, travellers must pay at least an extra $4 a day for their fare to travel to the city.”
Moreland City Council has also called on the Baillieu State Government to extend Zone 1 to the entire Upfield line, as well as to Coolaroo Station on the Craigieburn line. It has also called on the State Government to bring into line zone 2 bus routes in the area to align with Zone 1 stations, to avoid the heavy impost of zone 1 and zone 2 fares for using multi-mode travel in the northern suburbs of the municipality.
All the following bus routes should be brought into line with Zone 1 railway stations as Zone 1, or zone 1 + 2 overlap bus routes. Here is what they are currently zoned:
- 527 – Gowrie – Northland via Murray Road – Zone 1, Zone 1 + 2 overlap
- 530 – Campbellfield – Coburg via Fawkner – Zone 2, Zone 1 + 2 overlap and Zone 1
- 531 – Upfield – North Coburg via Somerset Estate – Zone 2 and Zone 1 + 2 overlap
- 534 – Glenroy to Coburg via Boundary Road, Sydney Road – Zone 1, Zone 1 + 2 overlap
- 536 – Gowrie – Glenroy via Gowrie Park – Zone 2, Zone 1 + 2 overlap
The mismatch of zones drives people into using vehicles for short trips or using vehicles to drive to a zone 1 train station at Glenroy or Fawkner. The area needs an integrated public transport zoning which would encourage greater public transport use and reduce the inequity in the system. Read Glenroy mum Elizabeth Newman’s story in the Moreland Leader.
Car parking at Fawkner and Glenroy stations is congested as commuters further a field drive to these stations to make a $25 per week saving by using a Zone 1 station for travel into the city. Read more on this in Glenroy commuter rails against daily parking nightmare in the Moreland Leader.
Opposition transport spokes-person Fiona Richardson commented in a media release on general investment in public transport infrastructure in the budget: “The Baillieu Government has again punished bus, tram and train commuters and failed to deliver immediate improvements to Victoria’s transport system,” Ms Richardson said.
“This is exactly the kind of neglect commuters have come to expect from Mr Mulder. Instead of standing up for commuters, he has stood by and watched as services deteriorate and overcrowding becomes a daily norm for commuters.
“Meanwhile, the Baillieu Government will fund an upgrade of the New Street level crossing in the safe Liberal seat of Brighton while hundreds of other more dangerous and more congested crossings around the State are unfunded.”
Environment, public transport, TAFE education suffer in budget cuts
On a more general note, the State Government budget has been declared a failure in sustaining and maintaining the environment of our state. Environment Victoria has said there is virtually nothing in the Victorian State Budget to improve Victoria’s environmental credentials. Environment Victoria’s campaign manager Mark Wakeham described the budget as failing “to deliver on key environment election promises, significantly cuts environment and climate change policy funding, and ignores opportunities to create green jobs and reduce household energy and water bills,”
While millions of dollars are set to go to a new east-west freeway link, public Transport, cycling, the environment and sustainability has got the shove.
Mr Daniel Bowen, a spokeperson for the Public Transport Users Assocation (PTUA) warned that the government needed to push ahead on bringing high quality, frequent public transport services to more of Melbourne. “The last election swung on public transport issues. Melburnians are looking for solutions to their transport woes, and the best fix traffic congestion is providing more frequent train, tram and Smartbus services right across Melbourne.” said PTUA President Daniel Bowen.
On funding for cycling infrastructure Greens leader Greg Barber commented: “Traffic congestion is a worsening problem in Melbourne yet the Baillieu government has abandoned bike programs that directly reduce congestion – every bike is one less car. Melbourne will be worse off due to this government’s decision to not fund bike programs,” said Mr Barber.
Yesterday cyclists met in the city with Bicycle Victoria to plan a campaign against the cut in funding to cycling infrastructure.
Victorian Bicycle User groups and Bicycle Victoria campaign meeting to restore bicycle funding in Victoria. http://t.co/4xCgbszS—
Melbourne BUG (@bikemelbourne) May 12, 2012
Perhaps the most breathtaking cut in funding was to the public vocational education system through slashing $290 million of funding to Victoria’s 18 public TAFE institutes. This will result in job cuts, reduced range of courses, and reduced ancillary services to support students, and increase most remaining course fees. This has a direct impact on local communities, but also impacts the education opportunities of our children and skills training, or retraining in the medium and long term down the track. And it hits those who most need and use vocational education and training the hardest – those on low incomes, migrants, and those people who are sacked or made redundant and need to reskill.
Here in Fawkner we have the Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE with the main campus at Broadmeadows, and Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE with its main campus at Preston. Both of these Institutes will suffer directly from the funding cuts with the changes directly affecting teachers and students in our community.