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Media Release


Scoresby Freeway "A Billion-Dollar Broken Promise"

The Public Transport Users Association has condemned Transport Minister Peter Batchelor's announcement that the State government intends to proceed with the billion-dollar Scoresby Freeway. This policy backflip comes despite assurances at the time of the change of government that the freeway was off the agenda. The PTUA has also accused the Minister of back-pedalling on his election promise to improve Outer East public transport.

PTUA President Dr. Paul Mees said:

"Before the 1999 State election, Labor's transport policy, Rebuilding the Transport Network, excluded the Scoresby Freeway, but promised improved public transport for the outer eastern region. Specifically, the government promised to build a tram extension along Burwood Highway to Knox City, and to prepare a comprehensive regional transport plan for the area in consultation with local councils, communities and public transport users. This plan was to include dramatically improved bus services across the region and a rail extension to poorly-served Rowville."

"Now Peter Batchelor has announced a billion dollar freeway we don't need; has downgraded the Knox tram extension to a "feasibility study"; has replaced area-wide bus improvements with a recycled Kennett government initiative called "Smart Bus" along only two roads in the area; and has become so vague on the Rowville rail extension that it might as well have been cancelled outright."

"And all this has been decided without the slightest community consultation or involvement. What happened to the consultation-based planning process we were promised?" Dr. Mees asked.

"The change of government has had no effect at all on transport planning in Melbourne. VicRoads still rules the roost: the public and the environment don't get a say at all. The only difference is that at least the Kennett government's transport ministers were honest enough to tell people in advance what their policies were."

Dr Mees added: "Residents of the outer eastern suburbs were promised dramatically improved public transport by the Bracks government, not a billion-dollar white-elephant freeway. There will be a lot of anger and disillusionment throughout the community over this decision."

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 7 August 2000