JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Libs stuck on Southland station

Date

Adam Carey

The Coalition promised in the 2010 election campaign to build Southland station for $13 million in its first term of office.

The Coalition promised in the 2010 election campaign to build Southland station for $13 million in its first term of office. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

PLANS to build a railway station at Southland have been ready to launch since March last year, but have stalled while the Baillieu government considers pursuing a deal with the shopping centre owner to share the construction costs.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media reveal that the Department of Transport proposed last year that the government sell Southland's owner, Ventana, the right to build new stores above the planned station.

The Coalition promised in the 2010 election campaign to build Southland station on the Frankston line for $13 million in its first term of office, trumping the former Labor government's pledge to build it for $45 million.

Despite the comparatively low cost, the Coalition pledged that the station would feature two platforms, an enclosed waiting room, a bus interchange, lifts, ramps for disabled access and a bike cage.

The promised station would be built next to the vast Southland shopping centre, which attracts more than 15.5 million visitors a year and has almost 6000 car parking spaces.

In a March 2011 briefing to Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder, the Department of Transport stated that it was prepared to kick-start plans to build the station if the government agreed to provide funding in the 2012-13 budget.

But the government did not agree, despite its election promise.

The briefing reveals the department was prepared to jettison the promise that the station have two platforms if it could sell the ''air rights'' to Ventana.

''[The department] is anticipating that Ventana will seek alternative options for the station, such as an island platform,'' Hector McKenzie, the department's former director of public transport, wrote to Mr Mulder. ''Alternative options sought may also include expansion of the shopping centre to achieve physical integration with the built form of the station, potentially making use of air rights above the station.''

This would ''allow flexibility of state contributions to the station infrastructure, in event of involvement of Ventana in the station development'' - meaning the government could negotiate its contribution.

''It is proposed that a business case be developed for consideration in the 2012-13 budget for delivery of the project,'' Mr McKenzie wrote.

The Baillieu government on Wednesday dead-batted inquiries about the station, saying that it was ''continuing to develop the Southland Station and talking to stakeholders''.

''This includes discussing planning, design and development matters with the owners of the Southland Shopping Centre.''

But Andrew Herington, a senior adviser in the former Brumby government, who obtained the documents under freedom-of-information laws, said the project had stalled because the Coalition had realised its pledge to build the station for $13 million was not achievable.

''The project was costed [in 2010] - $13 million was never enough and the Coalition never accepted it got the costing wrong,'' Mr Herington said. ''Forty-five million dollars was a realistic cost, $13 million was not.''

Ventana did not respond to written questions about its potential interest in the ''air rights'' above the proposed station.

77 comments so far

  • Not this again... So what does the government do with all our taxes? and revenue from infringements? I mean come on.

    Perhaps it's time governments get in-depth audited just like public companies.

    Commenter
    lala
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    December 06, 2012, 7:52AM
    • A well quantified article on the Southland scene. .... How much revenue does the Southland airspace use over Nepean Highway generate for the Victorian Treasury? A similar square metre leasing rate should be applied at the proposed railway station. A business case needs to be tabled for public discussion. After all, railway right-of-way use is on public land similarly to right-of-way use for cars.

      Commenter
      Oz
      Location
      Princes Hill
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 8:41AM
    • They do lala, where I work we get audited on our financials and our financial processes and systems.
      It will be in a report somewhere!

      Commenter
      shari
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 9:06AM
    • Another day, another service down the tubes. Get the money out of your back pockets, taxpayer-funded cars, developers' wet dreams, Christmas parties and overseas travel, and put it into what you are responsible for: our schools, hospitals and transport.

      Commenter
      BJS
      Location
      Toorak
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 9:09AM
    • Took an hour with delays this morning to get to the city on the first day I've caught the train to work in a month as had to carry some things in with me...whereas the pushbike takes not a second longer than 30 minutes (every single time). To summarise this article and what's happened in 2 years of government, we've had promises, pledges, plans, briefings, preparations, disagreement, jettisoned promises, exploration of alternatives, negotiations, proposal of a business case (not yet developed), continued development and consultation with stakeholders and further discussion of plans, design and development. Is there any prospect of a decision in this (or any) government's term? And this is for just one station, little wonder the entire network is in crisis.

      Commenter
      Holden Caulfield
      Location
      Kingsville
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 9:58AM
  • Rather than building a new station within sight of Cheltenham Station how about move Cheltenham Station towards town and build an integrated bus / rail interchange with shops run by another shopping centre above.
    Do domething!
    I've seen the New South Wales fire ad "Planning to make a plan is not a plan", Ted should take similar advice "Promising to do something is not the same as doing something".
    Anyway I'm moving from Malvern East to Frankston so I can vote out Geoff Shaw. Bye Ted

    Commenter
    Pat
    Date and time
    December 06, 2012, 8:07AM
    • Worst. Idea. Ever. You do realise that will cost a lot more than building a new station?

      Commenter
      Problem?
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 9:28AM
    • and what about all the traders in Cheltenham who will be bypassed? Do they not deserve a thoroughfare from the station too?

      Commenter
      JG
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 10:20AM
    • @JG No, they don't.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 10:49AM
    • Since my comment didn't get published, I'll ask again; explain your viewpoint Andrew, why would Southland traders be given a priority over Cheltenham traders? Are they 'special'?

      Commenter
      JG
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 12:43PM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo