10 minutes delayed. V/Line commuters catch the 4:17 Traralgon service from Berwick station – one of only two offered.

Regional commuters on the Gippsland line could see a decrease in services and further delays with new plans by the State Government to improve rail links.

As part of the State Government’s new budget which will see $24 billion dedicated to projects improving transport infrastructure around the state, the Pakenham/Cranbourne line will see $2.5 billion in improvements, aimed to boost capacity by 30% on the already overcrowded line.

The project is designed to increase the number of services by introducing 25 new high capacity trains, improve dangerous level crossings at Murrumbeena, Clayton and Carnegie and also introduce signalling never before used in Australia for increased train efficiency.

The plan also introduces a new train depot at Pakenham East, which will create local jobs in the area, as well 3000 jobs during the corridor’s five year construction.

But despite sharing 60km of track with its metropolitan counterparts, V/Line commuters on the Gippsland line can only expect signal improvements, which will allow for a “more reliable journey” as outlined in a promotional brochure published by the State Government.

For some disgruntled commuters, it isn’t enough.

Regional commuters in Berwick, a rapidly growing suburb 45km from the CBD, rely on the V/Line for access to the numerous schools, two major hospitals, two TAFEs and major university  in the area, all within walking distance of the railway station.

However, V/Line services there run twice a day, once in each direction and are often late.

As a result, many regional commuters are forced to catch metropolitan trains to Pakenham in order to relieve congestion on the track, and then catch a V/Line service to their destination.

Berwick Secondary College student, Kelsey Nichollas, said catching a Metro train was often problematic.

“[I’ve had to catch a suburban train] three times because [the V/Line] has been so packed… I get off at Moe and it’s an hour, and I never get a seat.”

Layla Homewood, a regular commuter from Warragul, finds the V/Line cheaper than driving to university, but criticises the availability of its services at Berwick.

“It’s not good enough… the increase in suburban services will create a backlog of V/Line services which cause more delays and cancellations. Plus, there’s basically nothing going into V/Lines anyway.”

“You just have to catch it to understand how bad it is.”

An increase in V/Line services to and from Berwick is a sentiment echoed by a Metro representative, who said that V/Line funding was entirely dependent on the government.

“The government can change policy so that more V/Lines can stop at Berwick, but it’s up to [them]”

Transport Minister Terry Mulder defended the allocated funding, calling it necessary to “keep Victoria strong, create jobs and cement Melbourne’s position as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

The project is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and finish by 2019.


Class Assignment Week 7

An elderly lady has died following a fire in a cinema in Melbourne last night.

The deceased was among the 250 patrons safely evacuated from the historic Gypsy Rose theatre, but died shortly after from an asthma attack and shock.

The historic cinema, which opened in 1910, was badly damaged in the fire and is unlikely to reopen.

Sergeant Bill Frost from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said the building was found to have a faulty sprinkler system and it was fortunate that everyone was evacuated in time. 

Another Metropolitan Fire Brigade member said dozens of cinemas across Melbourne were potential death traps due to their age and a lack of council inspections to test fire regulations.

The Prime Minister’s wife was amongst those watching the film, but was evacuated safely before the flames took hold.

Class Assignment 1

Residents in Glen Eira continue to feel strain over the lack of amenities offered, as local council plans to increase open space in the area.

In a meeting held Tuesday 18th March, Glen Eira council unanimously passed the Open Space Strategy, designed to increase parkland and open space within the Glen Eira locality.

The strategy is the largest of its kind, with $100 million devoted to the project for development of parkland and sporting grounds within the community.

It is also the first project since 1998 to change levels of liveability within the area.

Mayor Cr. Neil Pilling said of the strategy; “Residents are appreciative of [the Open Space strategy]”

“[This] can change the city and help us cope with increased population”

With the prospect of increased population density in Glen Eira, current residents are not impressed with the quality of services currently offered.

Residents experience problems such as blocked drains, infrequent rubbish collection and noise pollution in all areas of Glen Eira.

Problems with parking are also apparent around major transport hubs and larger suburbs such as Caulfield and Elsternwick.

Kitna Arjuna, 19, a resident of Glen Eira since 2000, highlighted the issues with the lack of parking available.

“Parking is a joke… Around the various schools, the university, recreational centres and the classic cinema in Elsternwick, there’s not enough free parking.”

“Because I live so close to the station and parking is limited, people block our street trying to find a park.”

While Miss Arjuna supported the strategy to increase open space, she hopes for a balance between open space and improved amenities.

“We moved to Glen Eira because of its convenience in both location and access to public transport, but I wouldn’t want to see that compromised with council failing to accommodate for population increases in terms of the amenities offered.”

The City of Glen Eira currently has the lowest concentration of open space in Melbourne, with 1.4ha per 1000 population; almost half the Melbourne metropolitan average.

Class Exercise 4

More than 100 of Australia’s leading movie actors have joined to form a new union, in a push to combat potential job losses within the Australian film industry.

The new union, known as the Media Actors Guild of Australia, was lobbied for by actors and organisers over the course of six months.

The new guild hopes to better accommodate to actors needs, as well as sustain the local film industry, which requires the employment of international stars to enter the lucrative American market and be successful. 

Chief organisers Fred Bloggs and Fiona Bloggs spoke about the push for a new union at a meeting in Sydney a few weeks ago, which highlighted the growing concerns felt by the Australian Film Industry.

“We needed a new union because the Actors Union of Australia was trying to minimise the hiring of overseas actors for parts in Australian films that could be played by Australian actors.” Fred Bloggs said.

“… If producers can’t hire overseas actors as box office draws in the lucrative ‘American market’, they won’t be making any movies here anyway. So sure, we’d like to see more Aussies working, but without overseas stars, none of us will be working”























Supermaket giant Woolworths and billionaire businessman Bruce Mathieson have come under fire for employing security controlled by the Comancheros, a notorious motorcycle gang.