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Mornington Community Safe Link

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (19:11:02): (1219) I raise a matter this evening for the Treasurer. I ask the Treasurer to provide an amount of $6 million in the 2020–21 budget to permit the construction of stage 1 of the Mornington community safety link. 

The safety link is the logical extension of the Peninsula Link Trail, which currently terminates at Moorooduc station. It is a shovel-ready project. It will link Moorooduc station with Mornington and lead on to the wider peninsula. It will of course enhance Mornington’s already considerable livability in many ways, but more importantly it will provide an active transport option for residents of Mornington, Mount Eliza and ultimately Mount Martha.

Recreational riders, whether they are locals or tourists, of all ages and abilities, will have the opportunity to use the path for both recreation and relaxation, and we all know the benefits of active recreation for health purposes. It is also an opportunity for commuters to travel within the Mornington area and to Mount Eliza and ultimately Frankston—but also, an important group of commuting cyclists would be the schoolchildren. There is an opportunity there in that the trail would link five schools and two major sporting facilities, and currently there are not particularly good cycling links, or particularly safe cycling links, between those facilities. Kids tend to stay off their bikes, and this sort of facility would certainly have parents encouraging their children to ride to school.

Cycling is a viable transport option in the Mornington area. It is a relatively flat town, but we lack purpose-built cycling and walking infrastructure. We have got increased traffic congestion, which I have spoken about in this place on many occasions, particularly in the vicinity of the schools and facilities that this link would serve. And of course there is the benefit of reduced carbon emissions as well from the expansion of active transport. The shire have tabled a document that identifies a direct economic benefit of some $4.5 million from the construction and a similar indirect benefit, and that is before anyone uses the path.

The path also has the strong support of the Mornington Railway Preservation Society, which currently operates the tourist railway. There are a number of alternatives in terms of funding, but most of those do not have the significant quantum that would allow this project to proceed in full. I am asking the Treasurer to consider this opportunity as a standalone item, objectively consider the considerable benefits of this project for the community and set aside $6 million in the next budget.