Rail Cannot Progress Without Phase Two Study

27 Jul 2015
Well Governed Council

The completion of Doncaster Rail will not make the 2029 deadline set by the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) ‘Network Development Plan – Metropolitan Rail, 2012’ unless the Doncaster Rail Phase Two Study is completed by 2016.

This is one of the major findings of the ‘Doncaster Rail Prospective Implementation Program’ report prepared by consultancy group URS that was approved by Manningham Council this week.

Manningham Council commissioned the URS Report to identify the necessary advocacy steps and actions required to ensure that the delivery of Doncaster Rail can be achieved by 2029, and is now calling on the State Government to:

  1. Fund and commence Phase Two of the original Doncaster Rail Study (to determine engineering requirements, land tenure needs, route protection needs, refined cost and funding opportunities of the preferred alignment)
  2. Update and review census, population and public transport patronage projection data to support the rail solution (including a station at Doncaster Hill);
  3. Engage with VicRoads and other stakeholders to ensure that both the Chandler Highway Bridge Duplication project and the Streamlining Hoddle Street project consider the future land use and operational needs to facilitate the Doncaster Rail proposal.

Manningham Mayor Cr Paul McLeish said it is very disappointing to see comments from both the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, and Opposition Leader and Member for Bulleen, Matthew Guy, that dismiss and simply brush aside the need for the Phase Two of the Doncaster Rail Feasibility Study.

“The URS report is very clear that the 2016 deadline is not negotiable if we are to see rail to Doncaster by 2029. But for some reason both major political parties lack an understanding of the importance the Phase Two Study plays in the early planning of Doncaster Rail.”

Cr McLeish said Phase Two of the Feasibility Study is about concept development, and the refinement of detail and it is a critical step on the path towards delivering the already, long awaited rail extension.

“Heavy rail projects do not happen overnight. They require long term outlay in terms of their planning and delivery.”

“I would urge both Minister Allan and Mr Guy to take a close look at the ‘Doncaster Rail Prospective Implementation Program’ to understand that Phase Two  is not just another study but a vital milestone in the future development of heavy rail to Doncaster.”

Cr McLeish said Council acknowledges that Doncaster Rail is presently not one the current Labor Government’s transport priorities, but would encourage the Government to continue further investigation and assessment of the project within their current term of government, in line with the URS timelines.

“The URS report concludes that Phase Two of the Feasibility Study needs to be completed by October 2016, as the first of many milestones that will require to be progressively achieved.”

“Every year that goes by, is another year’s slippage on the promised delivery date. From experience, the Manningham community has learned that years can quickly turn into many decades of inaction,” he said.