State budget review
The State and Federal budgets were the topic of a panel discussion involving council transport analysists, rail experts and a transport reporter from a major news outlet.
The meeting was held under Chatham House rules, so we can only report on it in a general way.
The key themes were:
> A number of transport items were described as ‘skinny budgets’;
> Several announcements included $$ figures looking forward up to 10 years, but on investigation a number were trimmed dramatically in the early years with the bulk of spending deferred;
> Extra funds for buses fell from $20M last budget to $2M this budget; mode shift incentives fell, and active transport appeared to have no budget line item;
> The deferral of Airport Rail was likely (especially as it is included in the Federal review) and COVID has reduced passenger rates anyhow;
> Also the Airport Corp is still seeking changes to the design;
> Gelong Fast Rail may be abandoned as the aim of 50 minute commutes looks unimpressive given that current services can be as quick as 53 minutes;
> Western Rail Plan, despite initial enthusiasm before 2018 election remains in limbo as other projects get priority;
> The Labor Federal governments review of infrastructure projects will not conclude until August, leaving a question mark of much of the transport budget.
Next steps in MCC transport strategy
MCC’s Richard Smithers gave a brief but comprehensive overview of the Melbourne City Transport Strategy 2030.
View Richard’s slides
Meetings to continue mostly on zoom
The meeting voted to continue holding most meetings on zoom with at least two in-person hybrid meetings a year.
State budget: Many transport budgets labelled as ‘skinny’