Thursday, 4 April 2019
Menzies Electorate: Traffic Congestion
As members in this chamber and in the other place will know, on many occasions I've spoken about the No. 1 issue for my constituents; that is, congestion of roads in the electorate of Menzies. This is in part caused by the increasing population growth of Melbourne, on track to become the largest city in Australia, but also the topography of Melbourne. One of my boundaries is the Yarra River. It stretches for dozens of kilometres, yet there are just three crossings of that river. For traffic that wants to traverse the northern and north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Greensborough and Eltham further out, to the south-eastern suburbs, they have to cross the river at one of these three places. Equally, traffic coming off the northern ring road that wants to connect with the Eastern Freeway and EastLink has to use one of these three crossings to traverse the Yarra. The consequence of that is that, for hours every day, there are huge hold-ups and traffic jams out in suburban Menzies.
One of the things that my constituents have been saying to me for some time now, which I've reflected in remarks in this place, is that we need to improve these pinch points, and, in particular, improve the pinch point where Fitzsimons Lane crosses the Yarra River between Templestowe to the south and Eltham to the north. Fitzsimons Lane itself is not the problem. Despite being called a lane—that goes back to the 1800s, when, indeed, it was—it's now a four-lane highway. But at the end of a couple of kilometres of four-lane highway, we go back to normal state roads. At the south there's a huge traffic build-up on Williamsons Road and Porter Street, and at the northern end there's a huge traffic build-up near Eltham and Montmorency on Main Road.
I was pleased, therefore, to take the cities minister, the Hon. Alan Tudge, out to show him this build-up of traffic, which occurs every day in the morning, in the afternoon and, indeed, increasingly throughout the day, to show him what the problem was and to plead with him and urge him to provide funding from the budget in order to resolve or help to resolve this ongoing problem. Ultimately, the North East Link will deal with this, for which the Commonwealth is providing some $1.75 billion. But until that is built, which is some years away, traffic congestion will continue to be a problem. I was delighted, therefore, to announce with the minister just a few weeks ago $10 million worth of funding: $5 million for the city of Manningham and $5 million for the shire of Nillumbik—so either end of Fitzsimons Lane—to deal with this major traffic congestion. That's funding out of the 2018-19 budget; in other words, that's funding there ready to be spent on projects that will ease congestion to the benefit of my constituents, to get them to work and get them home earlier than they otherwise would.