FORMER Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has called for a start to planning for a ferry service to run out of the western suburbs of Melbourne.
Mr Bracks was in Werribee last week to address 130 members of the Committee for Wyndham, discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the West.
Mr Bracks said with the growing number of people moving to the West, a ferry service would be vital.
“It has to happen really with the population growth we’re talking about,” Mr Bracks said.
“I mentioned before about the doubling of the population in this region. That will build a demand which can’t be met by just road and rail, and having an integrated ferry system will be built around that in the future.”
Mr Bracks said planning for the ferry service should start as soon as possible.
“I think it’s just going to come when the population demand is big enough and therefore it’s going to drive the economics of it,” he said.
“But we should start planning for it now because it is going to be vital in the future.
“I was very impressed with what happened in the city of Brisbane on the Brisbane River with the ferry service.
“It was lampooned as something that would be a white elephant. It’s now extraordinarily popular and it’s probably the best way to get around Brisbane.
“It could happen here as well and we need to take a risk on that at some point.”
The idea of a ferry service running from the western suburbs has been floated by the Liberal Government for several years but it has been consistently knocked back by Labor politicians.
Mr Bracks also supported the possible creation of a committee for the West which would advocate for investment and change in the region.
“I don’t think it would hurt, and it would seem logical and sensible and I think it’s got more chance of success here than any other place,” Mr Bracks said about the possible committee.
“Whatever the organisation is, working together and having a clear and cohesive plan and prosecuting that is going to be important.
“If that is the vehicle, that would be a very good vehicle for it I would have thought.”
In June last year Star reported that the Committee for Wyndham was positioning itself to become a West-wide advocacy group.
Mr Bracks was Premier of Victoria from 1999 to 2007.