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Media Release: Better Buses for the West campaign responds to State Budget 2024-25

Helping Families | Victorian Budget 24/25

Last week’s state budget disappointingly did not include anything for buses in the west. The west has been forgotten again, with unreliable services, convoluted routes - if they exist at all - and long waits set to persist for yet another year.

Big ticket infrastructure in the east such as the 25 billion dollar North East Link have been protected from cuts and delays, whilst the airport rail link has been delayed, depriving access to a key employment centre for workers in the western suburbs. The Western rail plan is now just a figment soon to be lost to memory. At the very least, the government could have committed to funding better buses in the west at a mere fraction of the cost of these megaprojects.

The state budget acknowledges pressures on the construction sector but as services, investment in better buses should not add further pressure. Therefore the time is now that the state government must use buses to provide essential connections for all melburnians, especially those who do not live near rail infrastructure.

“We want to congratulate everyone who got involved in the campaign to fix the 800 bus. It is a testament to their persistence and effort to draw attention to a problem long overlooked and get real results from the government” said Adam Bain, Sustainable Cities spokesperson. 

“We also want to congratulate the residents of the Harpley and Cornerstone Estates in Wyndham,  who have been campaigning for a bus for their estate and have finally received funding for one. It is good to see the government listening and responding to community pressure” says Bain. 

But while there are some small wins that are a result of sustained community campaigning, there has been no change in Labor’s piecemeal approach to bus reform that the Sustainable Cities collective says will not have tangible benefits to the wider community. 

“Adding one bus route at a time is a band aid approach that isn’t going to work anymore. A wider network transformation is the only solution to the worsening impacts of transport disadvantage that communities in the West are facing” says Sustainable Cities Coordinator, Elyse Cunningham. “If you provide people with a bus that is only going to come every 40 minutes they are not going to use it. The government needs to transform the long, winding, convoluted bus routes that are the current broken bus network. If our buses ran on a simpler grid then they could come every 10 minutes and align well with train timetables, and actually get us where we need to go. We need a bus network for the 21st century that the community can rely on.”

For more comment, contact:

Adam Bain - Sustainable Cities Spokesperson
Ph: 0450 475 954     E: [email protected]

Elyse Cunningham - Sustainable Cities Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Melbourne 

Ph: 0421 559 343         E: [email protected]

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