Council advocates for public transport to Fishermans Bend

Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has included public transport to Fishermans Bend in its suite of priorities for both state and federal governments, calling for the construction of a tram connection and a business case for Metro 2.

The council has requested a total of between $1 billion and $1.5 billion from both levels of government for the construction of a tram route across the Yarra River, which it argues could still be “completed in time for opening of the first phase of the University of Melbourne’s new Fishermans Bend campus in 2025.”

As Australia’s largest ever urban renewal project, Fishermans Bend is forecast to house up to 80,000 residents and accommodate 80,000 jobs by 2050 according to the state government’s planning framework for the precinct.

But unlocking these significant population increases hinges on the delivery of new public transport, with the area – more than two times the size of Melbourne’s CBD – currently devoid of a tram or train network.

The government’s planning framework maps out a tram connection across the Yarra River from Collins St through Yarra’s Edge in Docklands and Hartley St, “before splitting into two branches” – one along Turner St and the other along Plummer St.

“The northern tram line, exclusively in the City of Melbourne, can be constructed along a mostly preserved corridor between the new bridge and Westgate Park in the Fishermans Bend NEIC,” the council said.

“Workers, students and residents need a high-quality public transport service that is safe, efficient and sustainable.”

It has also advocated for a business case to be completed for Metro 2, seen as “the missing link”, connecting Fishermans Bend with the CBD via a new rail tunnel from Newport to Clifton Hill, accompanied by electrification to Geelong.

Among other priorities listed by the council affecting Southbank are supporting the development of a First Nations precinct at Federation Square East and co-funding Power Melbourne - a renewable energy program deploying “mid-scale distributed batteries across inner-Melbourne.” •

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