Adjournment: Congestion Levy
Mr HIBBINS : My adjournment matter is for the Treasurer, and the action I seek is for the Treasurer to allocate every cent that is raised from the current congestion levy on parking to sustainable transport projects in the inner city. Unlocking the congestion levy would be a boon for the livability of the inner city and inner-city communities. Using the levy to invest in sustainable transport would create kilometres of separated bike lanes; upgraded pedestrian infrastructure such as shared zones, crossings and streetscapes; and tram super-stops across inner Melbourne.
The congestion levy currently applies to off-street parking spaces in the cities of Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip and Moreland and is forecast to generate $100 million per annum in revenue. However, there is no link between this revenue and sustainable transportation spending, except for the City of Melbourne, where they received $7 million, or a 14 per cent rebate on the levy. The rest is placed in consolidated revenue. This is a tax‑and‑don’t‑spend approach by the government, when councils are doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to integrated transport plans for their municipalities.
For example, Melbourne City Council just passed a 10-year strategy to reduce through traffic in the busiest parts of the city, convert some of their 'Little’ streets into pedestrian priority shared zones and create more than 50 kilometres of protected bicycle lanes. Moreland and Port Phillip have 10-year transport plans, with improvements for pedestrians, new and upgraded bike routes and level access tram stops, and the City of Yarra has a comprehensive cycling strategy.
By adopting the Greens plan to use all revenue raised from the current congestion levy to implement each council’s integrated transport plan via agreement between the council and the state government, it would provide around $1 billion over 10 years that could be spent on sustainable transport and provide real alternatives to driving in the inner city.
I thank the Member for his adjournment matter of 16 October 2019 about the use of congestion levy.
In 2018-19, the State raised revenue of $111 million from the congestion levy, $7 million of which was granted to the City of Melbourne. The rest of the revenue is classified as the State's consolidated revenue, and serves as a key funding source for our major commitments to promote public transport usage, relieve city congestion and improve Victorians' access to Melbourne.
In the recent 2019-20 Budget, our Government committed over $3.4 billion to upgrade the Cranbourne, Hurstbridge and Sunbury lines. Not only will these projects improve network capacity at peak times, they will also reduce commuting time and relieve road traffic during rush hours. A fund of $150 million has also been committed to build additional car parking at some of our busiest metropolitan and regional train stations, to encourage people to travel by train.
The Victorian Government will purchase 10 new E-Class trams to expand our tram network capacity and enhance commuters' travel experience. A further $6.6 billion has been committed to remove an additional 25 level crossings by 2025, to reduce road congestion and journey times across Melbourne.
To make Victoria a more liveable and sustainable state, the Victorian Government will continue to deliver transport infrastructure upgrades and service improvement programs.
TIM PALLAS MP