Ageing voters and population boom put spotlight on Menzies’ transport woes


Graphic: Kristopher Hinz

Older voters in the seat of Menzies have expressed concern over the dearth of transport choices in the inner metropolitan Victorian seat.

Menzies has seen a population boom with a rise in the number of apartment blocks, especially in the suburbs of Doncaster and Doncaster East.

Several overseas buyers have moved into the electorate, particularly from Asian countries, which has put the spotlight on the need for a centralised train station or tram line in the electorate.

Early voters the Junction spoke to point to the traffic in Doncaster being almost always gridlocked, owing to the recent rise in population.

Some Menzies-area voters have suggested that the incumbent, Kevin Andrews (Liberal Party), has done little to accommodate this recent boom and has failed to connect with the recent Asian arrivals in the electorate.

Currently, the only train line in the electorate is in Eltham – newly added to the electorate – which is a lengthy trip from Doncaster and surrounding suburbs.

There have long been plans for a “Doncaster Rail” project, which was led by former Manningham Youth Council member James Adams.

The project was slow to get off the ground, taking years to get past the “feasibility study” stage.

It has now been superseded by plans for the North East Link toll road.

Doncaster resident, David, in his eighties, said that transport was a key problem for the electorate.

“I would really like to see a train or tram line here as well as it makes things hard with being unable to drive and having to always walk long distances to get the bus in and out of town and from A to B,” he said.

“Whoever is elected, I would really like to see them making some changes to the local public transport options here – nothing but buses for an entire electorate, let alone a council zone, just isn’t good enough.”

Doncaster resident Margaret, 60, said she was most concerned about the lack of support she says is given to the area’s aging population.

“In a few years I will be well into my time as a pensioner and I feel as though other than a few lawn bowls clubs, there is not a lot of facilities to support my husband,” she said.

“It has been hard enough to get by as it is and it’s quite possible that the suggested taxes by Labor could make it even worse for pensioners – either Kevin Andrews has to do a bit more for us here in this electorate, or Labor has to change their plans.”

From a federal perspective, David said he wanted to see more bipartisan action, “and less meaningless fighting and squabbling between parties.”

“The government should ban together to make change sometimes, they don’t always have to oppose each other,” he said.