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Media Release

29/05/2001

'Public Transport First' for Aston

An alliance of public transport and environment groups will launch Public Transport First in Rowville tomorrow, a campaign aimed at making the Aston by-election a referendum on transport policy.

Public Transport First is calling on candidates to commit to long-promised upgrades to public transport, ahead of any decision on the Scoresby Freeway. The alliance consists of the Public Transport Users Association, Knox Environment Society, Environment Victoria, Monash University Student Association, Australasian Railway Association, Young People for Public Transport and the Environment and Eastern Suburbs Transport and Environment Coalition. The launch will take place at 12noon at the bus bay outside Stud Park shopping centre, Rowville (see attached map below).

"For too long we've seen public transport treated as a low political priority," says Dr Paul Mees, PTUA President. "The Howard government and the Bracks government have pledged $220 million each to transport in the Knox area but they refuse to give the community a say in how the money is spent. The Aston by-election is our last chance to make the politicians listen."

"Country people are getting their train services restored because they sent the politicians a message by voting for candidates who supported public transport. Meanwhile the 30,000 residents of rapidly-growing Rowville are getting next to nothing."

Public Transport First will campaign hard to promote the extension of a rail line to Rowville and Monash University, the extension of the Burwood Highway tram to Knox City shopping centre and the upgrading of local buses to operate frequently every day of the year. "These improvements will cost $300 million, much less than just the first stage of the proposed freeway," Dr Mees says. "Public transport improvements will give us cleaner air, less congested roads and generally make the Aston electorate more liveable."

The campaign will involve leaflets being distributed to every household in Aston and will culminate with a public meeting in Rowville in the first week of July. "It's time the politicians sat up and noticed that the people of Aston have waited too long for funding commitments to vital public transport upgrades."

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 29 May 2001