Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allen, announced her plans to launch Victoria’s first long-term plan for better Regional Transport at Warragul station earlier this week.
Baw Baw Shire Mayor Joe Gauci and Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, were in attendance at Ms Allen’s ‘Connecting Regional Victoria’ announcement at Warragul station, which follows a recent end to V-Line’s crippling transport crisis.
Under the Victorian State Government’s Regional Network Development Plan (RNDP), regional Victorians will get more trains, better bus services, new connections and upgraded stations to get where they need to go reliably and safely.
RNDP gives a broad outline of the government’s short, medium and longer term priorities.
Key targets of the plan include more frequent train and bus services, quicker travel times, more puntunctual and reliable train services and additional train carriages.
Gippsland V/Line Users Group’s Natalie Thorne said cutting travel times, providing more carriages to prevent over crowding and greater reliability and punctuality of trains were the major needs.
The Regional Network Development Plan follows more than 40 public consultation sessions across regional Victoria including in Warragul, Traralgon and Leongatha.
However, Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood and Member for Morwell Russell Northe consider the RNDP to be a ‘bad joke’ and does nothing to benefit local commuters.
“After waiting nearly a year already for the Regional Network Development Plan to be released which the Labor Government promised would shape the future of transport in regional Victoria today’s announcement does nothing to outline how the network can increase capacity,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘2,800 individual comments regarding the Gippsland Line were made to the submission process and to not announce anything meaningful that will improve services, frequency or reliability is staggering.
Both members believe the plan contains no immediate action for the future of the Gippsland Line and is no more than discussion on paper.
‘This document is nothing more than a whitepaper that discusses what commuters want, summarises public meetings held as part of the Regional Network Development Plan discussions and does not deliver one new cent to actually improve services, their frequency or reliability.”
Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allen, said two additional return train services between Melbourne and Gippsland would be introduced during the 2016-17 financial year.
She also promises that plans will be developed to duplicate the single track section between Bunyip and Longwarry, as well as create passing loops between Moe and Tralagon, Tralagon and Sale and Sale and Bairnsdale.