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Russel Northe MLA:
Inequity Continues for Latrobe Valley Commuters
Still no support for public transport services and prices for Latrobe Valley commuters.
By Portal Admin - 2nd May 2019 - Back to News
Member for Morwell Russell Northe has again expressed his disappointment at the State Governments lack of support for Latrobe Valley commuters when it comes to public transport services and prices.
Earlier this year Mr Northe questioned the Minister for Public Transport in Parliament about the unfair and unjust prices Latrobe Valley students are forced to pay to travel to school when compared to students from Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and South-West Victoria, who are all eligible to obtain a discounted Regional Student pass.
"Whilst the Ministers response to my questions in Question Time was disappointing (Hansard – Latrobe Valley Transport) I was at the very least pleased to receive a hearing with the Ministers office to explain local parent’s concerns on the current inequity confronting Latrobe Valley students" Mr Northe said.
Whilst the Minister did provide an assurance the matter would be investigated further, the only response received thus far, has been from Public Transport Victoria (PTV) who state that the Latrobe Valley area is four times bigger than either Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo and that is why local students are not eligible for a Regional Student Pass.
Quotation from PTV: ‘I wish to advise Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat and Colac regional student passes cover one or two zones and are priced accordingly. However, The Latrobe Valley is up to four times larger than any other regions covered by these passes, which would make a Regional Student Pass for this region more expensive than other Regional Student Passes.’
"This response is not only incorrect but utterly unsatisfactory and I again call upon the Government to step in and fix this unfair and inequitable fare structure. If it requires a complete overhaul of public transport zones within our region to provide a fairer pricing structure then this is what the Government needs to do." said Mr Northe.
As it stands Gippsland commuters are paying more for inferior services in comparison to our major regional counterparts and this is completely unacceptable.
In addition to high public transport prices and poor services, the State Government also needs to inform Latrobe Valley commuters what its intentions are with respect to car parking commitments in and around our train station precincts.
"It has been more than two years since the State Government announced that 100 extra car spaces would be delivered for Traralgon; however only 93 were ultimately constructed, whilst 60 new car spaces were promised for Morwell station in April 2017 yet no new spaces have been delivered at this point in time" Mr Northe said.
See State Governments announcement Media Release here: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/better-trains-stations-and-buses-for-gippsland/
I have raised this issue a number of times to the Governments attention and was previously advised that a design for a new location would be completed in the second half of 2018, with construction to be completed in 2019. (QON – Public Transport)
"I understand recent announcements have been made for an extended platform to be built at the Morwell railway station but detail is still scant on how many car spaces will be built and when" said Mr Northe.
"Latrobe Valley students deserve better, Latrobe Valley parents deserve better, and Latrobe Valley commuters deserve better than the raw deal our community is experiencing when it comes to public transport prices and quality of services" said Mr Northe.
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