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Peninsula Public Transport – Time for a Review

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I rise this afternoon to address the issue of public transport on the Mornington Peninsula.

Public transport in my electorate does not consist of trams, trains and buses. With the exception of the excellent and well-loved Mornington Railway Preservation Society steam service, our public transport consists solely of buses.

The coalition government, as part of the metropolitan rail development plan, committed to extend the Frankston railway line to Baxter. My understanding is that that decision is supported by the present government, and I look forward to that development proceeding in due course.

While rail services may one day carry peninsula residents, or certainly those on the western side, currently policies intended to protect the special qualities of our towns and villages and maintain the green wedge will mitigate rapid population growth. I do not expect our population will approach the densities necessary to support heavy rail, or even light rail, in my lifetime.

For the time being therefore peninsula public transport — at least on the western side — is likely to remain bus based. That does not mean that the services provided should be any less comprehensive than those available to other, more closely settled areas. Unfortunately they are.

The most recent review, completed in 2009, is not yet fully implemented. Since that time our resident population has risen from 147 000 to 161 000 people, a rise of almost 10 per cent. Visitor numbers have boomed. Unfortunately bus services have not been boosted accordingly.

A review of peninsula bus services is now well overdue. I call on the Minister for Public Transport to initiate a comprehensive review of the peninsula public transport system, not only to fill the current gaps but to genuinely futureproof it for the next decade.