TRANSPORT INTEGRATION AMENDMENT (HEAD, TRANSPORT FOR VICTORIA AND OTHER GOVERNANCE REFORMS) BILL 2016

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Second reading

Ms RYALL (Ringwood) — I rise to speak on the Transport Integration Amendment (Head, Transport for Victoria and Other Governance Reforms) Bill 2016. I was interested to hear the member for Broadmeadows say in his introduction that this bill will address population growth, that this bill will essentially address all transport issues and all transport woes. I would suggest to the member for Broadmeadows that he come out to my community in the Ringwood electorate and tell that to them, because my community is still reeling from the $1.2 billion wasted for no benefit whatsoever in terms of the east–west link.

My community has increased significantly — by around about 3000 people in the last two years. I note that Labor has been in for 13 years of what is coming up for the last 17 years and we still have those freeways ending in traffic lights. It is an absolute disgrace. So I would say to the member for Broadmeadows that this additional bureaucracy will not solve the population issues, it will not solve all of the transport issues of this state and it certainly will not solve the problems for people trying to get from the east to the west and from the west to the east in a timely manner so that they can spend time with their families.

In terms of its purpose, this bill looks at changing the governance arrangements that apply to V/Line, and it creates the head, Transport for Victoria, as a statutory office — another bureaucracy, another agency. We know this Labor government has become famous for creating bureaucracies and agencies, adding more authorities and creating additional cost centres and adding to existing cost centres. It does not produce outcomes. This bill does not produce outcomes. It does not change anything. It just adds to bureaucracy.

In terms of what would help congestion — certainly congestion in my community — there is the east–west link. That is what would help productivity, and we know that that is the biggest drag on productivity in this state. It has been identified as that, yet nothing has been done about it. The member for Broadmeadows talked about productivity. When we talk about productivity we look at the efficiencies and the ability for business to get about the state and actually undertake the product deliveries and the service deliveries that need to happen.

I am not sure how those opposite actually think that business can get around the state just by their creating a further bureaucracy. Certainly those travelling from east to west are finding their trucks are on the road for longer, their utes are on the road for longer and their cars and vans are on the road for longer as the population increases and as this government fails to address one of the core problems, one of the core congestion points, one of the core drags on productivity in Victoria. How does this Labor government expect to actually improve economic outcomes when one of the biggest drags on productivity is right there in front of its eyes and it has wasted $1.2 billion on not doing anything about it?

Infrastructure Victoria is another bureaucracy created by the Andrews government. It was designed to take the politics out of infrastructure, but unfortunately the Premier put the politics straight back in once it had produced its report — by cherrypicking particular projects and refusing and refuting and saying, ‘No we won’t do it’ in relation to the ones that were actually put forward. As for the citizens jury that helped to construct that, well it became clear as people began to discuss the outcomes of that that what came about as a result of those citizens juries was not actually taken seriously or applied, certainly in the context of the east–west link.

This bill amends the charters that apply to one of the super departments created by this government, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. That means that Public Transport Victoria and VicRoads will then report to Transport for Victoria and not have responsibility for the planning of projects. One of the issues here is about losing the years of organisational knowledge — planning and industry knowledge — that reside with those people that suddenly are no longer involved in that process. Where they end up and where that organisational knowledge goes no‑one knows, but this is one of the things that obviously needs to be considered when these restructures, or corporate structures, are put in place.

Giving the Minister for Public Transport power to dissolve or reconstruct transport agencies — and once again I have highlighted my concerns about this government’s continued creation of further bureaucracies and cost centres — and the ability at the stroke of a pen to create or reconstruct or deconstruct or get rid of an existing bureaucracy just makes it open slather, essentially, for further creation and further adjustment without the proper insight, the proper understanding and the proper need to get outcomes.

At the end of the day — the member for Broadmeadows said that this bill will solve everything — this bill solves nothing. A solution is delivering on the outcomes that actually decrease congestion and provide solutions for people so that they can get to where they are going: they can get to work, they can get home from work, they can get their kids to where they need to be and they can spend time with their families. That is what people want — actual solutions. They do not want a bill that, according to the member for Broadmeadows, apparently solves it all. It does not solve it all. What solves it all is not bureaucracy but actually delivering on outcomes.

The other issue here is that with the appointment of the new head, who will essentially be the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, they will essentially take the brunt. We know with the Andrews Labor government that whenever there is a problem, whenever there is a concern, they roll out the spokesperson. You do not see a minister for dust. What we will find here is that as problems arise, as they have in the past, it will be all handballed over to the secretary of the department; it will not be the minister taking responsibility. We will see the ministers for public transport, roads and ports running and hiding instead of actually being accountable. Instead it will become a public servant’s fault, as everything else is always someone else’s fault. They will be there for the photo ops, they will be there for the good news, but for anything wrong that requires accountability they will roll out the spokesperson.

What we need is this government and the minister getting their act together and actually fixing the country train service. I know that the member for Frankston was not around last term, but in terms of just understanding regional rail link and then understanding, early in this term, the excessive wheel wear on those trains, the level crossing failures, the additional $50 million or $60 million, which took six months — for V/Line commuters it was a total inconvenience. We only need to look at myki: $1.5 billion that — —

An honourable member — A disaster.

Ms RYALL — Yes, that was a disaster. I am not sure which member opposite said that, but I agree with them; myki was a disaster. At $1.5 billion — and I am just trying to think; I think originally it was going to cost $300 million — it absolutely blew out. But the point is that for my community in Ringwood this bill does nothing. They continue to be stuck in traffic, and they continue not to be able to spend time with their family. In the mornings traffic is banked back to Blackburn Road now; it is difficult to get on. Even at Springvale Road in Nunawading there are times it is difficult to get onto the freeway, it is so chock‑a‑block.

This government has ignored the will of the people out in my electorate of Ringwood. It has trashed $1.2 billion of the $2 billion of state money that was going to be put into the east–west link. What we do not want here is added bureaucracy. What we do not want here is wasted money.