A number of seats in the November state election were won and lost because of public transport — and the Frankston line in particular.
Statistics continue to show that the line is the worst for punctuality in Melbourne, with a 12 month average of just 69.6% of trains on-time within five minutes.
Perhaps it’s fitting that the official abbreviation for it is Fkn.
The impact was acknowledged by both sides of politics.
Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum, Frankston: four seats through which the Frankston Line runs like an artery, four seats that bled Labor to political death.[Former Bentleigh MP Rob Hudson]: “But it’s a big commuting suburb. Ten thousand people pass through Bentleigh railway station every day, and the Frankston Line . . . has had reliability issues that have been frustrating commuters.”
— The Australian, 4/12/2010
…it is a terribly performing line. It’s a line that’s enraged and upset people massively.
— David Davis, Liberal Party, election night during ABC TV’s coverage
On the Frankston line, we lost five seats. On the Lilydale line, if you count Mount Waverley to the south, we lost four.
— Nick Reece, ALP State Secretary, address to Melbourne Press Club, 15/12/2010
(Nick Reece appears to have included Prahran, the eastern end of which is served by the Frankston line.)
So new Bentleigh MP Elizabeth Miller must be acutely aware of public transport issues in the area. In fact she raised the topic of Southland Station last week in parliament.
During the election campaign I made a commitment to my electorate of Bentleigh to see a railway station built at Southland shopping centre. This is a piece of infrastructure that is long overdue, which is symbolic of the previous Labor government’s inability to provide for our growing community. I ask the minister to provide an update on this commitment and on when my electorate can expect construction of this railway station to commence.
Good to see.
It’s just a shame it’s been decided that her electorate office will be moving from its current spot, a few doors from Bentleigh Station, down to East Bentleigh — a long way from the station.
One would hope this doesn’t mean she’s running away from the issues, and that she realises how important improvements in public transport (not just trains, but also trams and buses) will be if she is to retain her marginal seat, and indeed if the government is to retain power in the next election.
I for one look forward to progress on Southland Station and other key promises, particularly the Public Transport Development Authority, which if done right will reform the poor transport planning that’s got us into the current mess.
Update Sunday 17/4: A notice in Elizabeth Miller’s office window now says the move is not happening just yet.