In Parliament

Adjournment - Grenville Crossing


Thursday, 28 November 2019

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:44):

My adjournment this evening is to the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for the minister to immediately reopen the Grenville Street pedestrian rail crossing in Hampton and enhance safety at the site.

Earlier this week almost 200 people from Hampton met for a community meeting following the state government’s closure of the Grenville Street crossing. Shamefully, Labor Members and Ministers hid and refused to attend.

The meeting unanimously called on the government to immediately reopen the Grenville Street pedestrian crossing and fund and install gates and bells.

The crossing closure has had a profound effect on my community. A recent Bayside Council pedestrian count found that hundreds of people use the crossing each day, including the elderly, disabled, and the special needs children from Hampton Life Saving Club’s Starfish Nippers program.

It is particularly concerning that local residents have reportedly been ignoring closure fencing and running across the train tracks. In fact, I understand that train services have been delayed at the crossing because of safety concerns, another reason for immediate safety action.

The government closed the site, claiming that it had listened to the community. That could not be further from the truth.

We have also been told that it will now take a year for the government to investigate and potentially design changes. Documents obtained through freedom of information expose that mistruth: 18 months ago Public Transport Victoria completed safety designs. The designs have already been done. I make those designs available to the House.

In April 83-year-old Hampton grandmother Gloria Holmes tragically lost her life when she was hit by a train at the crossing. It is not the first death to have occurred there. Public Transport Victoria acknowledged the inherent danger in April 2017 when they confirmed the crossing:

…has been identified as a higher risk crossing, and therefore is one of the 9 high risk pedestrian crossings planned to be upgraded during 2017/18.

Documents obtained through freedom of information also reveal that funding was allocated in 2018 but then pulled before the election, when Public Transport Victoria advised that:

…a sudden change in the risk profile of certain level crossings in Victoria required other crossings be prioritised…

My community has asked me whether grandmother Gloria Holmes would be alive today had that funding not been ripped away and the safety works completed.

Sadly, we will never know.

I look forward to the Minister’s response.