South Yarra Railway Station

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — (12 307) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for the minister to upgrade South Yarra station. I have had an overwhelming response to my recent community survey seeking views on what is needed in a station upgrade, with over 800 responses received so far. I am happy to report some of the results to the chamber. For the existing station the clear priority for commuters is a northern entrance with a platform overpass. The station currently has one overcrowded entrance. To reach the station, residents in the Forrest Hill growth area and Melbourne High School students need to traverse the congested footpath outside the station and a dangerous, busy, uncontrolled, unmarked crossing at Yarra Street.

A small section of land has been set aside at the end of Yarra Lane to accommodate a second entrance to be built. This would relieve the crush that occurs daily outside the station and give Melbourne High students and Forrest Hill residents safe and convenient access to the station. As well, it would be a second option for passengers wishing to transfer between platforms that would be disability access compliant, unlike the current ramps. Such an entrance with a platform overpass is a significant undertaking that would require substantial funding, but it would be similar to the platform overpasses that have been built as part of the North Melbourne and also Footscray stations.

Other priorities for South Yarra commuters are maintaining the heritage character of the station, expanding the current foyer — and I note the previous project to expand the foyer was proposed and then abandoned under the previous government — and a safe pedestrian crossing at both Yarra Street and Malvern Road, as well as an increase in train and connecting tram frequency given the current overcrowding that occurs on the Sandringham and Frankston lines and on the number 8 tram. I have also called for a task force to be established, made up of local government, relevant authorities, traders and residents, to lead and guide the upgrade process. The community has spoken loud and clear: an upgrade to South Yarra station is needed. I urge the government to upgrade the station.

Ms ALLAN (Minister for Public Transport) — The member for Prahran raised a matter regarding his and his community's desire for an upgrade to the South Yarra train station. The member for Prahran and I have had a few discussions about this very issue during the course of this week, so I will confess to not being entirely surprised that he has raised it this evening during the adjournment debate. I have said this to the member for Prahran, and I have also said it publicly on a couple of occasions now: I understand that there is both a desire and indeed a need from the community who use the South Yarra station to see that station upgraded, as has been identified through his contribution and the petition that he has organised in his local community.

The member for Prahran talked about some of the challenges with more and more people living in the area and wanting to use public transport. It is an area that is well serviced by trains in and out of South Yarra, so it is no surprise that there are more and more people using those trains. I have indicated publicly that we understand that there is a need for an examination of further works to be done. I am considering how best to progress that and hope that the member for Prahran can pass on to passengers who use the station and the broader community that the government understands this is an issue. We understand that a range of factors need to go into how we address that, and as that work is done I will be able to provide further information.