When you are talking about a extremely expensive project with a very long lead time the sensible thing to do is to pause and have a rethink . The Government is rushing through this project with alarming speed. Under state legislation passed in 2021, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority was given planning powers over the area 1.6km from each SRL station. This grants the authority the power to bypass local councils and rezone or develop land in the station precincts. And if I was a resident of Heatherton, I would not be happy at all.
And sorry, the argument that the Coalition will cancel the project is just such a weak excuse I am afraid if current polling are a guide.
The Melbourne Bus Network is an absolute car crash. The Smartbus infrastructure and branding is being actively dismantled - the labels are being scrubbed from stops and buses. Most Bus routes cease operating at 9.00 and most run to a maximum of a 30 minute schedule even in rush hours. When you look at every other capital city in Australia, that would be considered unacceptable. Whlist the Government has revamped the Bus network in local areas such as Wyndham, in the main all the Government has done is to introduce a couple of dozen new Bus routes, in which, with the exception of the 202, are subject to the same minimum service quality requirement of 30/40 mins off peak Mon to Fri and Hourly on weekends, when the whole network needs to be rescoped. Fisherman's Bend is supposed to be Melbourne’s next new urban development precinct, but there are only 4 routes serving it and the CBD, resulting in overcrowding and people left behind in peak periods. And a 5th, route 606 to Elsternwick, again you've guessed it, operates to minimum service quality requirement of 30/40 mins off peak Mon to Fri and Hourly on weekends. The Government has also bought 100 buses. Very basic buses, purchased on the cheap.
All the Current government is bothered about are Capital work projects. The "Big Build". Anything that requires physical construction. The government reckons that will cost $30 to $34.5 billion and 13 years to complete SRL East. $30 to $34.5 billion and 13 years to build 26 kilometres of twin tunnels and six new underground stations when the Airport link is going to cost $10 Billion and 7 years for just 12 km of new track, including 6 km long section of elevated rail, 2 bridges and 1 station? I ain't buying that. Moreover, I think that the Western Rail Plan should take precedence over the SRL.
So many will still suffer from poor transport options because the Government is seemingly only interested in Major Infrastructure Projects. I cant help feeling that it is a poor outcome.