Rail hopes hit by business case


THE release of the long-awaited Frankston rail extension preliminary business case shows that inadequate public transport in the Mornington Peninsula region is not being taken seriously by the state government, says the Committee for Greater Frankston.

The preliminary business case (PBC) was released on Monday 9 November.

A news release from Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the business case showed running electric trains to Baxter from Frankston could directly benefit residents across “the entire Mornington Peninsula”.

“Delivering a metro rail line extension south of Frankston will help open up the whole of the Mornington Peninsula, meaning locals can get to work and get home sooner and safer,” he said.

Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking said the business case’s claim that none of the investment options had demonstrated a strong economic case for priority investment was the state government “playing Orwellian games”.

“It’s time for the state government to start properly planning to construct this vital public transport project,” she said. “The failing public transport network between Frankston and Langwarrin is recognised as a nationally significant infrastructure priority by Infrastructure Australia – a top 150 project in the nation.

“But the state government’s indicative preferred option doesn’t even include a local station for the people of Frankston South, Karingal and Langwarrin.

Initial moves by Frankston Council were aimed at extending the electrified line south of Frankston to Baxter. This changed once the shire’s then mayor, Cr David Gill, pointed out that Baxter was within the shire and that extra parking and parking trains could only happen on land zoned green wedge (“Councils link up on transport” The News 15/4/20).

“The Frankston and wider community were expecting their state government to extend the train line to at least Langwarrin with a minimum 15-minute metro service and a dedicated commuter park and ride for at least 1000 cars,” Ms Hosking said.

“Taxpayer money paid for this rail extension study. We deserve a full explanation about why this project – so vital to our region – has been stopped dead in its tracks.”

“The project will radically transform public transport in our region, drive creation of new jobs and improve overall prosperity, reduce congestion on roads, free-up crowded car parks, and make better use of public and private assets such as Frankston Hospital and Monash’s Peninsula campus.

“The federal Coalition government and federal Opposition obviously understand the benefits as both have already committed to provide an initial $225 million towards its construction.

Copies of the executive summary are available at infrastructure.gov.au/rail/publications/index.aspx.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 10 November 2020


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