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Media Release


Concern Grows Over Fast Train Links

The Public Transport Users Association has expressed concern over the delay by the Bracks Government in releasing the consultants' reports into the proposed Fast Train Corridors for Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon. The Association applied for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act on July 6th, but the documents have still not been released for public comment. The government has until Monday (August 21) to respond to the FOI request.


PTUA spokesperson Wendy Everingham said:

"Our argument all along has been that the communities about whom decisions are being made have a right to participate in the decision making process. The ALP is supposed to support open and accessible government. As the consultant reports have been completed for several months now, they should be made available to the public".

Ms. Everingham indicated that the Association's concerns have been increased by the government's recent announcement of the go-ahead for the Scoresby Freeway in Melbourne at a cost of $960 million.

"The government is capable of making quick decisions when it wants to. This is highlighted by the recent decision to build the billion-dollar Scoresby freeway in Melbourne's Outer East. This project was not even mentioned in the ALP transport policy document."

"The Scoresby freeway announcement commits the Bracks government to supporting grand scale road projects ahead of good quality affordable roads and public transport. With a billion state dollars about to be committed to this project, are the promised improvements to country rail now under threat? If the government can change its mind so quickly to build this new freeway it is at risk of changing its mind on improving country rail services." Ms Everingham said.

The Association's concerns have also been heightened by the recent cancellation of a meeting between the PTUA and the Labor Country Caucus. Ms. Everingham said:

"We were promised an opportunity to meet the country caucus to discuss the fast train projects, but were notified only this week that the meeting has been cancelled because caucus is too busy. We are concerned that the fast rail links appear to be receding from the government's attention as VicRoads increases its influence within the transport portfolio."

"Victorians in regional areas should be concerned that more money is to be spent on unnecessary freeways in Melbourne at the expense of their own needs. The government surely needs little reminding of who elected them to office," concluded Ms Everingham.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 5 August 2000