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People living in growing outer suburbs risked social isolation if public transport was not improved, advocacy groups warn.
Melbourne's fringe areas could become too polluted and home to unemployed, obese and depressed people if the State Government failed to improve public transport.
The Coalition for People's Transport, which includes the Victorian Council of Social Service, Environment Victoria, VicHealth, local government groups and disability advocates, has called on the Government to urgently fund public transport projects.
The coalition said that making different forms of public transport available in outer growth areas was the key to making Melbourne a more liveable city. Services also needed to be more frequent and more accessible to the disabled, the number of walking and cycling trips needed to double by 2020, while bus timetables had to be reviewed and outer suburban rail lines extended.
In a public transport paper to be released today, the coalition recommends that public transport projects be funded urgently to meet the Government's goal of increasing public transport trips to 20 per cent by 2020, under its planning blueprint Melbourne 2030.
VCOSS spokeswoman Kate Colvin called on the Government to "put their money where their mouth is and make the Melbourne 2030 vision, which we support, a reality".
VicHealth chief executive Rob Moodie said suburbs that relied only on cars were more likely to make people fatter, sicker, more lonely and probably more depressed.
"Well-connected communities with strong social networks are more likely to benefit from lower crime figures, better health, higher educational achievement and better economic growth," Dr Moodie said.
Transport Minister Peter Batchelor welcomed the paper but said the Government had already implemented a lot of its recommendations or was planning to do so.
He said funding all items on the coalition's "wishlist" was beyond the scope of one term in government.
The Government had spent $3 billion on public transport across Victoria since being elected and funding public transport improvements remained a high priority, Mr Batchelor said.
"It is an important objective to provide mobility to individuals and the community," he said.
Pilot programs designed to improve connections between different types of public transport were being tested in outer suburbs and would be extended to other areas if successful, Mr Batchelor said.
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