Production of Documents: V/Line Rolling Stock Procurement Plan (06.02.2013)

Written on the 20 February 2013

 

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I move:

 

 

That this house requires the Leader of the Government to table in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 19 March 2013, the Rolling Stock Procurement Plan described on page 15 of the V/Line Pty Ltd Initial Strategic Operations Plan, 10 November 2011 and, in addition, any updated versions of the Rolling Stock Procurement Plan.

 

 

Ms CROZIER

 

I am pleased to rise to speak on Mr Barber's motion, which states:

 

That this house requires the Leader of the Government to table in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 19 March 2013, the rolling stock procurement plan described on page 15 of the V/Line Pty Ltd Initial Strategic Operations Plan, 10 November 2011 -- --

 

Mr Barber -- Have you read it?

 

Ms CROZIER -- I have a copy here of the V/Line strategic plan. I will continue my contribution, but I indicate to Mr Barber that I have done some background research on this. I notice that Mr Barber has taken a particular point from page 15, as is highlighted in his motion.

 

I would like to make a few points in relation to comments made by Mr Barber, Mr O'Donohue and Ms Pulford just now, because this is an important issue. I, like Mr Barber and all members of this chamber, value public transport. I have used it extensively in the past and no doubt I will continue to use it in the future. We can be very pleased that we have a public transport system, although it obviously needs support. As Mr O'Donohue highlighted, when we came to government the Minister for Public Transport faced great challenges in addressing a number of issues relating to the public transport system and the transport system in general. Those issues related not only to trains and trams but also to roads and the condition of those roads.


In his contribution, Mr Barber mentioned maintenance. There are many roads in country Victoria, and that includes Ms Pulford's electorate, on which I have travelled for many years.

 

I know the roads in that area very well, and I can say that over the last 10 to 15 years there has been major neglect in the maintenance of those roads. This government has done an enormous amount of work in addressing those issues, particularly after the floods of 2011.

 

Getting back to Mr Barber's motion, which relates to the rolling stock and the issues that were addressed there, Ms Pulford should absolutely embrace this issue. Under the previous government Mr Barber could not have raised this motion, because there was no rolling stock. In regard to Ballarat, Ms Pulford should embrace the fact that the trains this government commissioned and which have been delivered came out of Ballarat. In June of last year a media release from the Minister for Public Transport stated that at Alstom's Ballarat maintenance centre the first of seven new X'trapolis trains were under construction and were expected to be delivered before the end of this year.

 

Not only is that good news for the public transport system, it is also good news for the local economy and, more importantly, for the jobs that are being generated at that site.

 

The minister's media release goes on to state:

The company now plans to invest $8 million to develop the Ballarat site, creating high-skilled jobs for regional Victoria.

 

That is happening in Ms Pulford's electorate, and in the city she comes from. I would have thought Ms Pulford would have embraced this government initiative. This is a good news story for the city of Ballarat and for those people who are working at that particular site. This initiative delivers more jobs and provides all sorts of returns for Victoria's economy.

 

As Mr O'Donohue said, the Baillieu government has faced significant major challenges, and it continues to face those challenges, in relation to fiscal responsibility and financial issues. He cited an example in his electorate in regard to Pakenham, where a station was completed but did not have any electricity. How extraordinary. I could not believe that, but I suppose I should not be surprised by that given we had a new $1 billion hospital without an IT system -- that was another mess that we highlighted when we came to government. We discovered it and we had to address it. That is another example of the mess the previous government left us with and which we are now addressing.

 

I am pleased to say that not only do we have that rolling stock but we are also developing new jobs in relation to those trains. It was a pre-election commitment of the coalition government to improve services and train timetables. We have been able to do that. There are instances where we have improved services right across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

 

Late last year a new train timetable was released that delivered 90 extra weekly metro trips and provided some additional train trips to outer areas of Melbourne. In my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region, there was an increase in morning peak hour trains that were stopping at various stations, including Hawksburn and Toorak stations, and again in the evening. The train timetables for those areas were also increased and improved.

 

That was acknowledged by Metro Train Melbourne's chief executive, Andrew Lezala. He has also acknowledged that Metro's punctuality has improved markedly over the last 18 months. Metro's September on-time performance result was 93.1 per cent; that is the highest result since the franchise began. That is very good news for commuters who use public transport. There is lots to do. It is another issue that the government is addressing, given the previous government's failure to plan for the increases in population in outer areas.

 

It just goes to show that there was a lack of planning by the previous government in a whole range of areas, not to mention the need to put on new rolling stock.

 

The Minister for Public Transport, Mr Mulder, should be commended on the enormous amount of work he has done in this area. It is a very difficult area. It is one of those areas of government that is always challenging because of the different competing interests. As Mr O'Donohue highlighted, we have been under enormous pressure from the financial burdens that have been placed upon us, such as the write-downs in GST revenue. We are faced with international economic issues as well as some decisions that have been made at the federal level that are impacting on not only our manufacturing base but also other areas of operation. Of course I am referring to the additional taxes that are going to affect every single business, including operators of our public transport system, which require a great deal of electricity. The carbon tax will affect services such as public transport along with other public services.

 

I return to the point in Mr Barber's contribution where he referred to a comment made by the Premier. Mr Barber said that the Premier had said, 'I'll leave it to the Greens to deal with that issue'. That might have been a bit tongue in cheek, because Mr Barber would probably have us all on bicycles, truth be known.

 

Mr Barber -- Have you been on a bicycle lately?

 

Ms CROZIER -- I have not been on a bicycle lately.

 

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Elasmar) -- Order! Mr Barber, from your seat!

 

Ms CROZIER -- I have to say that I do not often get on a bicycle. I had a bad experience in Melbourne on a bicycle some years ago, and it terrified the living daylights out of me. I have not had the nerve to get back on a bike. I prefer to walk, and I do that regularly. I would gladly get on a tram, train or bus and use public transport, but I am not a great fan of bikes.

 

Mr P. Davis -- Ms Crozier has been distracted from her speech.

 

Ms CROZIER -- I have been distracted from my speech, Mr Davis, but I had to make the point that I am a great supporter of public transport. In the summer months I used public transport a number of times to get around Melbourne. It was an absolute delight and not too crowded at all.

 

Nevertheless, there are significant issues relating to the rolling stock, and the contractual obligations are being taken seriously by the government. We are ensuring that this is done in a responsible manner and financial components relating to any of these contracts will be looked at closely and carefully. The operations plan Mr Barber referred to in relation to the rolling stock has various elements that need to be addressed. Metro Trains Melbourne was mentioned briefly, as was the regional rail link project, and I am pleased the Baillieu government is supporting that. It will make an enormous difference to many people living in regional areas who rely on public transport not only to get around public areas but also to travel from country areas to metropolitan Melbourne.

 

In relation to the responsibilities of Mr Mulder's portfolio, I reiterate that he has delivered in a number of areas, and not only in areas the government said it would deliver on.

 

We are improving services right across the metropolitan network, and we are improving passenger travel times. There are in excess of 1000 new train services across Melbourne and they are moving more people. There has been much to do within the relatively short time frame since we came into government. Melbourne is an expanding city with an expanding population. More planning is required, but I am confident we will deliver those train services. As Mr O'Donohue said, the government will not be opposing Mr Barber's motion.

 

Motion agreed to.

Business interrupted pursuant to standing orders.

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