Ms DUNN (Eastern Metropolitan) — I recently met with the CEO and mayor Paul McLeish of the Manningham City Council. This municipality is located approximately 12 kilometres to the east of the CBD. Manningham is the only municipality in metropolitan Melbourne that relies solely on buses for public transport. The council is concerned that there has been no further commitment on Doncaster rail. It is so keen it has even installed a virtual station at Doncaster Hill. What needs to happen is the development of a business case and a detailed engineering study for Doncaster rail.
Rail services from Doncaster Hill to the city would only take 20 minutes and would provide a genuine alternative to car travel. Each train could remove 800 cars from the road, which is badly needed, with peak‑hour traffic at gridlock along the Eastern Freeway. Doncaster rail is a far better solution to ease congestion than the east–west tunnel ever was.
The test of this government’s commitment to reducing traffic congestion and providing Doncaster with mass transit alternatives will be the upcoming state budget. Disbanding the east–west link tunnel is one part of the puzzle, but commencing Doncaster rail is the important next step. Doncaster rail proposals date back to the Railways Construction Bill, which was brought before Parliament in June 1890. We have waited long enough.