GREENS national leader Richard Di Natale says Ballarat deserves more frequent, reliable public transport infrastructure.
During a visit to the city on Saturday, the senator weighed in on the city’s public transport debacle.
He said governments should better recognise Ballarat was an increasingly popular commuter base for Melbourne workers, where people could live and enjoy a regional lifestyle.
The Courier reported last month V/Line had continued its nightmare start to 2016 after performance statistics for February again revealed the public transport provider was failing to meet its minimum requirements.
Figures showed service reliability and punctuality had continued to plummet.
Mr Di Natale said Ballarat, like most regional hubs, also needed improved public transport and alternate transport options to get about the city, particularly with a growing population.
Greens’ Ballarat candidate Alice Barnes is expected to soon pitch the party’s public transport policy amid the federal election race.
Ms Barnes said this was a key issue for Ballarat that people really wanted movement on.
“Our community is set to double in population by 2050 and we need to be prepared for that,” Ms Barnes said.
“We have lots of new residential suburbs. We need to start planning to get around more easily and avoid congestion. There’s a lot of traffic in Ballarat already, so much more than there used to be, after the growth we’ve experienced in the past 10 or 15 years.”
The Greens also see health and sustainable industry as major issues for Ballarat leading up to the federal election.
Mr Di Natale toured the Ballarat region on Friday and Saturday, taking in the Mount Mercer wind farm and Meredith Dairy farm and factory.
“Wind projects at Mount Mercer and the work at Meredith Dairy are exciting. You know there is real certainty about regional jobs and a chance for investment in far more renewable energies,” Mr Di Natale said.
“There are a lot of businesses here, in Ballarat, with people who understand how important it is to tackle global warming with sustainable business models.”
In a broad sense, Mr Di Natale said there was disappointment from the Australian public in the Turnbull government for not fulfilling expectations and changing direction on issues like global warming.
The Greens will champion a firm stance on investment investing in emerging industries for a new economy, more efficient healthcare, greater compassion for refugees and issues surrounding global warming.
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