A VCOSS guide to what’s being funded, what’s missing out and where the 2019 budget might take Victoria.

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Affordable public transport is especially important for people on low incomes, who may otherwise be unable to reach workplaces, education, healthcare and family and friends. It brings freedom to young people, older people who cannot drive, and people with disability who need options other than expensive point-to-point transport such as taxis.

Affordable public transport gets people out of cars and off roads, helping to fight congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

The Victorian Government is making huge investments in transport infrastructure, to better cope with a booming population and connect people with jobs, schools and services. This includes projects like level crossing removals and upgraded suburban and regional train lines.

Behind the headlines, Government is also promising to delivering 10 new accessible trams, a Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy, and improved active transport infrastructure.


Positive initiatives

New accessible trams

The Government will fund an additional 10 low-floor, accessible trams and the infrastructure needed to get them rolling.
Cost: $83.5m in 2019/20 ($162.8m/4 years)


Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy

In a welcome move, the Victorian Government will develop a Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy to investigate the design and construction of accessible tram stops, and to prioritise tram stop upgrades. VCOSS is pleased to see work begin on systematic planning and sequencing of tram stop upgrades to maximise access for all Victorians, and hopes to see the strategy backed by dedicated, long-term funding.
Cost: $3.1m in 2019/20


Students with Disabilities Transport Program*

Eligible students with disability will continue to receive assistance to travel to and from school. The budget includes funding for bus replacements in 2020.
Cost: $4.8m in 2019/20 ($9.9m/3 years)


Better bus services

The Victorian Government is funding new bus services in Melbourne’s suburbs, including a service linking Mernda and Craigieburn station, a service connecting Donnybrook to Craigieburn, and a service in Keysborough.
Cost: $10.1m/4 years


Regional train boost

Regional train services will be boosted, with the Victorian Government adding up to 18 new VLocity trains to the regional network, to replace ageing trains. Three new stations will be constructed in and around Bendigo, and planning will start on a Bendigo line upgrade to enable more frequent train services. Government will also begin planning the separation of regional and metropolitan services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines to tackle overcrowding.
Cost: $222.1m in 2019/20 ($489.6m/4 years)


Additional train services

Additional train services will be introduced across both regional and metropolitan rail networks following the completion of major projects, including the Ballarat line upgrade, Cranbourne-Pakenham line upgrade and high-capacity metro trains.
Cost: $20.7m in 2019/20 ($195m/5 years)


Active transport

Government will continue to fund Active Transport Victoria, to develop Victoria’s walking and cycling network, and will upgrade bike paths and pedestrian infrastructure across Melbourne’s suburbs.
Cost: $15.6m in 2019/20 ($45.5m/5 years)


Free phone charging at inner Melbourne train stations

Thirty-two free mobile phone charging bars will be installed at Flagstaff, Flinders Street, Melbourne Central, Parliament, Southern Cross, North Melbourne, Richmond and South Yarra train stations.
Cost: $0.1m in 2019/20 ($0.3m/4 years)


Further strategies

A number of further strategies that were not included in the 2019/20 budget could bring significant benefits for all Victorians. VCOSS will be advocating for these initiatives over the coming year, in the lead up to the 2020/21 Victorian Budget.


Long-term accessibility improvements across train and tram networks*

While VCOSS welcomes development of a Tram Stop Accessibility Strategy, Victoria needs a long-term program of accessibility improvements across both tram and train networks. Upgrades and new accessible services are particularly needed in rural and regional areas, which have limited public transport and even less accessible public transport.


Expand the Flexible Local Transport Solutions program

Victoria can boost investment in the Flexible Local Transport Solutions program, which funds small, innovative local transport projects. This includes on-demand bus services, like Woodend Flexiride, that connect people with shops, health services, train stations and community.


Overhaul the public transport concessions system

A comprehensive overhaul of Victoria’s public transport concessions is well overdue. The current system is messy and confusing, with 17 types of concessions and six types of free travel passes. The Victorian Government can make this system simpler and more equitable and efficient.


* Indicates the initiative is also included under other policy areas.

More VCOSS analysis
Read the VCOSS media release
Watch the VCOSS Treasurer's Breakfast
Real Spending Changes Table