Manningham Council recently resolved to write to public transport minister, Ben Carroll, to express its concern about the lack of public consultation associated with changes to bus routes 305 and 309 which came into operation on Sunday 30 April. The Council resolution is shown below.
The new route 309 timetable sees a reduction in the number of daily services overall, and the loss of the service along Springvale Road in Donvale. Residents and businesses in High Street, Doncaster, also lose out, as the 309 service has also been diverted from the Doncaster Park and Ride to the park and ride facility which was opened on Thompsons Road in Bulleen on 30 April, an element of the North East Link Project.
Whilst the fact that there was no consultation with members of the public on the changes is bad enough, it appears that the Council also knew next to nothing about them. It is not widely known that the North East Link Program has, under a “confidentiality agreement,” sworn individual councils to secrecy on potentially major concerns related to the project.
The secrecy provisions effectively gag councils (these include Whitehorse, Boroondara and Banyule, too) from discussing or disclosing elements of the North East Link Project which may potentially adversely impact their residents and ratepayers.
Perhaps these recent changes in route bus services have been caught in this Victorian government secrecy net.
However, the councils also have themselves to blame for this unsatisfactory state of affairs. They joined in Supreme Court actions to contest the North East Link project in its early stages but quickly buckled and discontinued the challenge. It was said that the councils would henceforth have a “seat at the table.” As could have been predicted at the time, things are far from working out that way for the councils and residents.
MANNINGHAM COUNCIL RESOLUTION
That Council writes to the Hon. Ben Carroll MP, Minister for Public Transport to:
B. Request an update on the status of the Victorian Bus Network Reform and review of services to the Eastern Suburbs, including when the findings of the consultation process completed in 2022 will be released;
C. Understand future bus route plans for the Springvale Road, Doncaster East/Donvale corridor;
D. Requests that all changes are subject to broad community awareness and consultation of proposed changes.
MOVED: CR ANNA CHEN SECONDED: CR TOMAS LIGHTBODY
(Manningham Council meeting, April 26, 2023)