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THE long-awaited Southland Station will open to its first trains and passengers on Sunday.
More than 350 people have worked more than 61,000 hours during the 15-month construction of the controversial $21 million stop on the Frankston line, moving about 600 tonnes of earth.
A pedestrian underpass will lead from the nearby Westfield shopping centre to the station.
Labor and the Coalition both pledged to build a train station at Southland and while the Coalition won the 2010 election, it wasn’t until 2013 that detail of the plans for a basic, no-frills station emerged and it took until 2014 for full funding to be provided.
In March 2015, the Labor government announced the long-awaited transport hub would be open a year later than previously planned.
MPs Nick Staikos and Tim Richardson take a sneak preview of the new station. Picture: SuppliedLabor Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos said the new station will make travelling to Southland easier for thousands of staff and shoppers every day.
“We promised a new station and we’ve delivered — right on time for the busy Christmas period,” he said.
But the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees union has planned a protest at the station against Westfield Southland’s decision to charge workers to park at the centre.
SDA State Secretary Michael Donovan said retail workers can’t afford the $1,300 a
year and would be forced to find alternative parking arrangements.
“We have female shop assistants working at night who used to have safe, convenient
parking at their workplace. Now, they will have to find parking in surrounding suburbs
and that brings risks,” Mr Donovan said.
“I will be asking WorkSafe to look at issues like safe lighting, and other health and safety matters. I have already raised these issues with Westfield to no avail.”
Public Transport Victoria will host a free coffee and BBQ breakfast in the station forecourt to celebrate the opening on November 26 from 9.30am and 11.30am..
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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