Thursday, 08 May 2008
Rail: Malvern electorate level crossings
Mr O'BRIEN (Malvern) -- I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Roads and Ports. The action I seek is for the minister to develop and fund a program for implementing grade separation on five railway crossings that are causing traffic congestion in my electorate but affect many other residents besides. The level crossings are on the Glen Waverley line at Kooyong, Glen Iris, Gardiner and Tooronga rail stations and at Toorak Road near the Monash Freeway. These rail crossings all cross major arterial roads, being respectively Glenferrie Road, High Street, Burke Road, Tooronga Road and Toorak Road. These roads are essential to traffic flow in Melbourne. They are used not just by my constituents but by many others as well.
Fixing these level crossings will benefit traffic flow, reduce congestion and lead to better environmental outcomes as movement times for public transport are improved and the emissions from cars sitting at level crossings are reduced. Fixing these level crossings will also provide an opportunity to upgrade the track on the Glen Waverley line, which is in such a poor state of repair that trains move at snail's pace near these level crossings, adding to the delays and frustrations of both road and rail users. The High Street, Burke Road and Toorak Road level crossings also impede access to and from the Monash Freeway. There is little point in this government upgrading the M1 if its entrance and exit points are a morass. It is in the morning and evening peaks that the greatest level of traffic is on the roads and that is when the greatest delays occur. I encourage the minister to drive down to these level crossings during the morning or evening peaks and see for himself the traffic snarls, the congestion, the waste of time, the waste of resources and the frustration that these level crossings impose.
In making this request, I state very clearly that funding for any grade separation must not come from the high-rise, high-density, over-development fantasy that some would propose as a trade-off. A government that can overspend on the Ml upgrade by $400 million with nothing to show for it must be able to fund these overdue capital works that will provide environmental benefits, promote better economic efficiency and improve the quality of life of many people.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! I am aware that the Minister for Public Transport has responsibility for grade separation or road crossings where they cross railway lines. It would be helpful if the member were to redirect the matter to the attention of the Minister for Public Transport.
Mr O'BRIEN -- Thank you, Deputy Speaker. I ask that my contribution be directed to the attention of the Minister for Public Transport.