Whittlesea Mayor Cr Mary Lalios and City of Whittlesea councillors have welcomed the announcement by the Labor Party that it will commence work on Mernda Rail in the first term of the next government if elected.
"It's an exciting day for our community with Labor now joining the Greens in committing to build Mernda rail," Cr Lalios said. "We now have two of the three major political parties right behind this critical project.
"The announcement by Labor is unconditional and unequivocal – they will build Mernda Rail in the first term of government which includes eight kilometres of duplicated track, no level crossings and two stations. This is welcome news to the local community who have been very vocal on this important issue."
As the fastest growing postcode in Australia, about 51,000 additional people will eventually live in the Mernda/Doreen growth area alone and 80,000 within the corridor from South Morang to Whittlesea township. The need for a train service to this area is critical with traffic along Plenty Road gridlocked every day.
Cr Lalios congratulated the community on the important role it had played in bringing the critical need of Mernda Rail to the attention of the political parties as part of the Access Denied campaign.
"Our residents should be extremely proud of their efforts in raising the profile of this project with political leaders," said Cr Lalios. "Our community could not make it any more clearer that building Mernda rail and another interchange on the Hume Freeway at O'Herns Road Epping North are vital to reduce the daily grind of traffic congestion."
Cr Lalios called on the Liberal party to also listen to what the community was telling them and immediately make an announcement to build Mernda Rail.
"Both the Greens and Labor have realised the critical need for Mernda rail and committed to building it. "The Liberal party should not ignore the local community if they are taking the seat of Yan Yean seriously at the November election.
"We also call on the Labor and Liberal parties to make a commitment to connect O'Herns Road with the Hume Freeway in Epping North to help relieve similar problems of traffic congestion for residents living on the western side of our municipality."