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CfMP urges Infrastructure Australia ‘lift gaze’ beyond Frankston

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula (CfMP) is disappointed that the priority list released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) today doesn’t include a commitment for any infrastructure projects for the Mornington Peninsula.

IA have proposed an ‘initiative’ for public transport connectivity improvements to, and through, Frankston, with a view that these improvements should support major redevelopments to the east of Frankston. Elements identified by IA for such an initiative, include:

  • optimising the existing bus network
  • increasing bus service frequency and coverage
  • upgrades to rail services and infrastructure.

The CfMP is urging IA to ‘life its gaze’ beyond the east of Frankston in relation to transport requirements to consider the needs of the Mornington Peninsula and explore the staged electrification of the rail line beyond Frankston along the Stony Point line and freight rail connections to Cranbourne line.

President of CfMP, the Hon Bruce Billson emphasised the significant public transport and infrastructure challenges faced by the Mornington Peninsula.
“Our region has the lowest access to public transport facilities within metropolitan Melbourne, and this raises the question again about whether policy makers and transport planners even consider the Mornington Peninsula to be part of the metropolitan Melbourne”, Mr Billson said.

“This impacts our community by inhibiting access to educational services, jobs and visitor connections to the region.
“The recent CfMP study on available land for local employment creation examined journey to work data and found that 45% of Mornington Peninsula residents with a job leave the Peninsula, some commuting significant distances, to their place of employment.

“Improving this employment ‘self containment’ with more local livelihood opportunities must be complemented by improved transport options and linkages for those forced to leave the Peninsula for work.

“This must involve IA lifting its gaze beyond the east of Frankston in relation to transport requirements to consider the needs of the Mornington Peninsula, and this will be the CfMP focus as the process moves into the “initiative identification and options development’ phase”, Mr Billson said.
Mr Billson added that the release of the Commonwealth-funded ‘business case’ undertaken by the State Government into extended the Frankston line electrification to Baxter would provide key insights and analysis on the best next steps for improving rails services for the Peninsula.

As outlined in by the recent “Better Buses” campaign by the Mornington Peninsula Shire:

  • 82% of the Peninsula is not serviced by public transport.
  • The Shire has the second lowest provision of public transport out of the 31 councils in the
    Melbourne metropolitan area.
  • 2 out of 3 major activity centres on the Peninsula are not serviced by rail; the third has a
    diesel service on a limited timetable.
  • The lack of public transport options impacts on the community in different ways according to
    their needs and stages of life (e.g. young, elderly, people with disabilities);
  • Due to the lack of public transport on the Peninsula, our residents are almost six times less
    likely to travel to work by public transport than Greater Melbourne;
  • A mere 3% of Shire residents take public transport to work, compared with 15% across
    Greater Melbourne.
    Aside from public transport, the CfMP have identified a number of infrastructure needs in their Strategic Plan for the region including:
  • Development of infrastructure to enable Class A recycled water to be affordably available to support the region’s agricultural production
  • A need for re-examination of Government policy to support the considered development of the Port of Hastings & reduce potential Port Phillip impacts
  • A need to improve poor broadband & mobile services
    The Infrastructure Australia 2020 priority list also identified improved capacity in east coast deep
    water container port facilities as a national priority.
    Mr Billson said CfMP hoped this national priority identification would prompt a ‘serious, sober and sensible rethink’ about future plans for Western Port as a significant freight hub

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula is disappointed that the Mornington Peninsula received just 0.09 per cent of the funding announced for our neighbours in greater Geelong in this year’s State Budget.

$424,000 of new funding was announced for the Mornington Peninsula whilst $463.43 million of new funding was announced for Greater Geelong, which has the same enrolled population as the Mornington Peninsula.

After extended and repeated metropolitan Melbourne lockdowns, the CfMP would have expected more support for our local businesses and public assets and services to help the Mornington Peninsula to recover, however no new funding was announced for our local hospitals, schools, TAFE, parks, roads or public transport services in this Budget.

Disappointingly, new taxes will be imposed on major employers on the Mornington Peninsula and our residential and commercial properties will be taxed at a higher rate as businesses and property owners attempt to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

We remain hopeful that over the coming months, the Victorian Government will announce local funding initiatives for the Mornington Peninsula from the state-wide funding programs announced in this State Budget.

This unpredictability of government decision-making contributes to the general unease in the community about unforeseeable restrictions that could be imposed upon Victorians at any moment.

The lack of a clear and consistent approach to reopening and locking down Victorian communities erodes business and consumer confidence to plan, resulting in damaging effects to local economies, community mental health outcomes and the reputation of Victoria as the place to be.

Victorian members of the Committees for Cities and Regions are calling on the Victorian Government to actively consult with the community to develop a long-term Covid readiness plan for Victorian cities and regions.

As Victoria faces another long weekend under lockdown-style conditions, the Committees are calling for a common set of publicly available and industry-informed standards to be applied to decision-making on Covid restrictions in Victoria.