Manningham Council Mayor, Cr Paul McLeish said Public Transport Victoria’s (PTV) proposal to build heavy rail to Doncaster by 2029 cannot be achieved unless the State Government reassesses its position regarding the completion of Phase Two of the Doncaster Rail Study.
Cr McLeish said recent comments from the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan and Acting Public Transport Minister, Martin Pakula regarding Doncaster Rail are of real concern to Council.
“In Public Transport Victoria’s Network Development Plan it is clearly stated that completing ‘detailed planning work’ is a matter of priority, in order to ensure the delivery of the Doncaster Rail Line by 2029. We are concerned that the State Government is not being properly informed about its importance.”
“Comments from the Minister Allan that the State Government has “no plans to proceed with the second stage of the study at this point” and additional remarks from Acting Public Transport Minister Pakula that “Manningham doesn’t need more studies and false promises – they need action...”, show a distinct lack of understanding of how important the completion of Phase Two of the study is to ensure the heavy rail proposal for Doncaster stays on track.”
“The completion of the Doncaster Rail Feasibility Study is not in conflict with the State Government delivering its election promises, as the cost to complete the study would be negligible in the scale of things, and it would be complimentary to those other promised projects.”
“The Acting Minister says we need action but both he and the Minister fail to recognise that completing the Doncaster Rail Feasibility Study is precisely the action that is necessary,” he said.
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.
“Council recently engaged consultants, URS, to produce a report on the key actions that will need to be achieved each year until Doncaster Rail is completed by 2029 in line with the PTV’s Network Development Plan.”
“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.”
“To do this the project brief needs to be developed immediately, and the study awarded in late 2015 because every year that goes by, is another year’s slippage on the promised delivery date,” Cr McLeish said.
(The URS report will be publically available following its anticipated adoption at the 28 July Council Meeting.)