Many communities in regional Victoria are “highly under-serviced” by public transport, with flow on effects to liveability acting as a handbrake on potential population growth, a new report has found.
Infrastructure Australia released the 2022 Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps report last week, shining a light on the poor state of transport infrastructure across regional Victoria.
According to Infrastructure Australia, public transport in regional Victoria is largely unreliable or non-existent stating:
“… limited options to access critical public services affects liveability and can re-enforce disadvantage and social isolation in regional communities.
“Lack of public transport infrastructure can limit economic growth in the region’s smaller towns and the ability of businesses in these communities to attract workers.” (Source: 2022 Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps, p 451)
The report also identified:
- A lack of access to public transport in the Central Highlands and Wimmera Mallee is severely hampering quality of life for sick elderly residents and the ability for young people to study at TAFE,
- Better public transport promotes liveability which is critical to attract and retain skilled workers,
- The rail freight network in the Mallee has “more assets in average, poor, or end-of-life condition, compared to regional passenger rail”,
- Despite population growth in the Grampians region in recent decades, more remote communities remain “poorly serviced by public transport”.
The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the poor state of regional transport infrastructure was symptomatic of Labor’s city-centric ideology.
“The unreliability and ongoing neglect of regional Victoria’s public transport infrastructure is a handbrake on regional Victoria’s growth,” Ms Kealy said.
“In regions like the Mallee and the Grampians, public transport is almost non-existent, further disadvantaging communities and stunting development.
“While Labor continues to throw billions of dollars down the gurgler in metro project cost blowouts, those of us living outside metropolitan Melbourne are being treated as second-class citizens.
“This report confirms yet again that the Andrews Labor Government is failing to provide a plan to recover and rebuild our infrastructure in regional Victoria.”