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Local ‘Think Tank’ survey shows community support for the Baxter Rail Project.

A recent survey undertaken by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula (CfMP) showed that of the 191 respondents, 87% supported the electrification of the rail line from Frankston to Baxter. The survey also asked “If the metropolitan rail network and services were extended to Baxter and possibly on further toward Hastings into the future, would you support a re-introduction of diesel rail services between Mornington and Baxter and more frequent services along the Stony Point line?”- 90 per cent of respondents supported this. 

Shannon Smit, President of the CfMP said “Our community survey showed that there appears to be significant community support for the electrification of the rail line from Frankston to Baxter and also other rail options on the Mornington Peninsula. This project already has a $225 million commitment from the federal government, and it will bring much needed jobs and economic stimulus to the Mornington Peninsula particularly in in the COVID-19 recovery phase. ”

A recent CfMP study found 45 per cent of Peninsula residents worked outside the region and less than 20 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is serviced by public transport forcing nearly half the region’s residents to drive to work with significant impacts on the environment. 

“Our region has the lowest access to public transport facilities within metropolitan Melbourne and this impacts our community by inhibiting access to educational services, jobs and visitor connections to the region.”

Recently the MPS released a Climate Emergency Plan.

Shannon said “The MPS Climate Emergency Plan notes that Transport is the second largest source of carbon emissions on the Mornington Peninsula (31%) with most of this being attributed to road transport. The MPS on one hand acknowledge the need to reduce motor vehicle use, yet on the other do not support a “park and ride” option at Baxter which would go some way to getting a significant amount of commuter vehicles off the roads and improve greenhouse gas emissions. We believe the objections of the MPS is based on stabling requirements, which is no longer the case due to the stabling that has been constructed at Kananook Station. There are significant benefits of the Baxter rail project on a number of fronts for Monington Peninsula residents, including jobs and economic stimulus in the COVID-19 recovery phase. By supporting the Baxter rail project, the MPS can significantly reduce carbon emissions. ” 

 “We know that only 2.6% of Australia's transport greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to rail. This 2.6% includes both passenger and freight rail so, in fact passenger rail contributes even less, so it is curious why the Mornington Peninsula Shire object to the Baxter Rail Project that already has a $225 million funding commitment from the federal government. The CfMP urge the state government to match this commitment and the MPS, if they are serious about reducing greenhouse emissions, road trauma and improved public transport for the Mornington Peninsula to show their support for the project.”

Transport for NSW have identified that:

  • A train line can move 50,000 people an hour. Compare this with a freeway lane which can move 2500 people an hour.
  • To move 1000 people it takes: 
  • One train (eight carriages)
  • 15 buses
  • Anywhere from 250 to 1000 cars. This would then require 1.37 hectares of parking space in the Sydney Central Business District.
  • Urban rail transport is seven times safer than road per passenger kilometre.

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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.