THE Greens will push for unified support by all political parties to fix the city’s public transport problems.
The issue has grown to be at the front of the political agenda in recent months as the city’s train commuters deal with a service struggling to show any signs of improvement. It is widely recognised that without significant government investment the city’s train line will continue to face similar problems.
Greens candidate for Ballarat Alice Barnes believes both current MP Catherine King and Liberal candidate Sarah Wade should all agree a plan is needed outlining some improvements for the train service within the next 10 years. “We think a multi party approach is the best way to deliver a really positive outcome for the community,” she said.
“Getting the feds involved is one way we could talk about the big ticket money.”
“Train services are a state issue, but unfortunately our local state members seem unprepared to take the challenges Ballarat faces seriously. That is why I am calling on Catherine and Sarah to join with me in setting up a process that goes beyond election cycles, beyond passing from state to federal and beyond party politics.”
Neither Liberal or Labor parties at a state or federal level appear to have any clear plan for the troubled line, despite a horrible 12 months in terms of performance. Funding provided for the Regional Rail Link project hasn’t had the desired impact with most deeming it a failure.
The only other infrastructure commitment to be made for the train line is the Rowsley passing loop. Committed to by the Liberal Party in 2010, construction is only now underway on the project more than six years later.
Ballarat MP Catherine King wouldn’t comment specifically on the proposal of a cross party agreement put forth by Ms Barnes but admitted to being equally frustrated by the poor service of V/Line to Ballarat.
“I have been in constant contact with V/Line and the public transport minister,” she said. Ms King said she was looking forward to seeing requests to federal Labor from the state government on any proposals to come from the Regional Development Network Plan that is being currently developed.
Liberal candidate for Ballarat Sarah Wade didn’t comment on the proposal. “The time for talking is over and what we need in relation to V/Line are results and if I am elected I wouldn’t pay lip service to the V/line crisis, I would hold them to account,” she said.
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