Northern Transport Corridor and the 2022 election results. Time to upgrade, extend Upfield line to Wallan

November 27, 2022 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Congratulations to Tim Read, Anthony Cianflone, Kathleen Matthews-Ward election to parliament for Merribek

For the first time the three State MPs representing Merribek have all signed a climate emergency declaration. Congratulations to Dr Tim Read, Kathleen Matthews Ward and Anthony Cianflone. We look forward to working constructively with you in the next parliamentary term for ambitious climate action and rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for Victoria.

We also think there is a lesson here for Labor, reflected in the election results, in the lack of addressing public transport upgrade in the northern transport corridor, for duplication and extension of the Upfield line to Wallan.

Dr Tim Read was re-elected for his second term representing the Brunswick electorate. Dr Read has been a continual advocate for ambitious climate action in the Legislative Assembly in his first term and for duplication and extension of the Upfield line. While the count is still not finalised Dr Read gained a 1 per cent swing to him on primaries. The Labor candidate, who did not sign the climate emergency declaration and who did not have anything to say on Upfield extension, suffered a negative 8.5 percent swing.

For the seat of Pascoe Vale Anthony Cianflone has been elected to replace Lizzie Blandthorn, who signed the climate emergency declaration in 2018. Mr Cianflone has previously worked with Brimbank and Darebin Councils on the climate emergency. Both Cianflone and his principal challenger, Angelica Panopoulos for the Greens, recorded small swings in their favour compared with the 2018 result, while the Liberal candidate received a positive 9 per cent swing, probably reflective of the presence of high profile Independent Oscar Yildiz in 2018, with voters returning to the Liberal fold.

Kathleen Matthews Ward was elected for the seat of Broadmeadows to replace Frank McGuire, who had refused to sign a climate emergency declaration. Ms Matthews-Ward was formerly a Councillor at Moreland Council from 2004-2012. Broadmeadows suffered a 9 per cent swing to the Liberals.

Was lockdown reaction the reason for the swings, or is this a distraction?

The swing to the Liberals in the northern suburbs, in some seats into the double digits, was a feature of all the electorates (barring Brunswick) in the Northern transport corridor.

The impact of lockdowns has been put forward as one reason for these swings by Premier Dan Andrews. It is true that residents in the Northern suburbs were less able generally to work from home so were more likely economically affected.

Looking at the results, the The Freedom Party, in electorates where they stood, achieved less than 4 percent of the vote. Other fringe anti-mandate parties achieved even less. While we don’t dismiss reaction against lockdowns as a contributing factor to election swings, we think the silence on improving public transport infrastructure on a regional basis also played a part.

Demographic change and capacity issues with existing public transport

Labor’s silence and failure to address the demographic pressures and capacity issues in the provision of adequate public transport in the Northern Transport corridor with duplication and extension of the Upfield line to Wallan may have contributed to major swings away from Labor.

While Labor head office and their candidates continued to focus on the importance of level crossing removals in Brunswick during the election campaign, they ignored the lack of good public transport in their heatland seats where population is booming and people are really feeling cost of living pressures. Labor candidates failed to address the northern region transport issues:

  • Craigieburn line is approaching its capacirty limit
  • Population in suburbs north of Craigieburn is booming: Kalkallo, Beveridge, Mickleham and Wallan all have major residential developments with population projected to approach 100,000 by 2031
  • Roads out of some of these suburbs suffer from major congestion
  • Poor bus services and an inadequate V-line rail service, poor direct access from suburban housing estates to stations to encouarge walking and cycling to the station.
  • High car dependency due to poor public transport leads to higher traffic congestion in inner city suburbs
  • High VAMPIRE Index (vulnerability assessment for mortgage, petroleum and inflation risks and expenditure) adding to cost of living pressures in northern suburbs

Swings to the Liberals in Northern Suburbs Labor Heartland seats

Preliminary election results for electorates in the Northern Transport corridor….

Broadmeadows – New ALP candidate Kathleen Matthews-Ward elected. 2CP swing was 9% swing to Liberals.

Greenvale – a newly created seat with no incumbent, but notionally safe Labor. Iwan Walters elected. 2CP swing was 15.6% swing to Liberals.

Kalkallo – Ros Spence, a well regarded sitting MP and Minister, Electorate of Yuroke abolished. Ros Spence moved to the newly created electorate of Kalkallo, suffered a 2CP swing of 3.9% to Liberals.

Thomastown – Veteran Labor MP Bronwyn Halfpenny suffered a 2CP swing of 10.5% to Liberals.

Yan Yean. New ALP candidate Lauren Kathage. 2CP swing of 11.1% to Liberals.

Support for Suburban Rail Loop in South Eastern suburbs

Citizens in south Eastern Melbourne electorates increased their votes to Labor, a sign of public support for the Suburban Rail Loop Project.

But here in the northern suburbs the continued silence by the Andrews Labor Government on duplication and extension of the Upfield line probably played a negative part and contributed to swings against Labor in their heatland electorates.

Northern suburbs residents are in much more need of good public transport on an equity basis, and have been so far ignored.

Labor produced a report on upgrading the Upfield line – the Somerton Link report – for $5 million in 2018. They have refused to release this report for public reading.

Upfield line needs priority for duplication, extension to Wallan

Will Labor start engaging with their heartland and address public transport infrastructure in the northern suburbs in this next term?

Dan Andrews stated he would govern for all Victorians. In the Northern Suburbs we would like to see some of that governance devoted to provision of good public transport and active transport as a priority. To do whats right, what matters, the next Victorian government should priotise Upfield line extension to Wallan.

Labor say they are leading on climate action. Addressing public transport infratructure in the Northern transport corridor is important for addressing social equity, cost of living and transport emissions.

Entry filed under: Climate Emergency, election, news, public transport, transport. Tags: , , , , , , , .

State of the Climate 2022 and the Victorian Election Growling Grass Frog wetlands habitat at Moomba Park under construction by Merri-bek Council

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