Second Reading-TRANSPORT LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2019

FREGON (Mount Waverley) (17:19:24): I rise to speak on the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019. Firstly, I would like to thank the Minister for Transport Infrastructure for her work and her office’s work, and also the work of the departments that are involved in this bill because I am sure that there has been a lot of work going on in the background for quite some time to get us to this point. I should also at the same time thank the Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC in the other house and the Minister for Public Transport. I noted earlier that when the Minister for Public Transport gave her contribution she made a very valid statement, which was that Labor understands that public transport is a crucial part of an equitable society. The quote might not be correct, but I think that was the gist of it. That is exactly true. This integration will provide efficiency in the department and it will provide a better working machine, and therefore we will have a better public transport and road system in this state. I will give a brief example. Some of the members on the other side have pointed to their lack of understanding of what this bill will actually do for their constituencies. I will just give you a small example of small gains that make a big difference. Earlier this year I had discussions with the minister’s office about people leaving Glen Waverley station at peak hour. I was very pleased to see that earlier in the year Metro upgraded the Myki touch-on and touch-off readers at Glen Waverley station to the new faster touch-on system. That was great, and it did have an impact that was good to see. But we were still talking and in June the minister came to Glen Waverley station with Metro and we discussed a few more options. Now, last week Metro conducted a trial to see if there was any other way that we could improve getting off the station, and this involved opening the gates. Now, those touch-on and touch-off readers with the process of the gates looked very promising. I do not want to pre-empt the results of the trial, of course, but it shows to me that little changes can make a big difference when you add them all up. So I would like to thank the minister for that work. The main purpose of this bill is to, as I have alluded, complete the consolidation of the Public Transport Development Authority and VicRoads into Transport for Victoria. This merging of departments will create a greater focus on people and a simpler operating model, reducing duplication and enabling more efficient operations. I would like to thank the member for Box Hill, who is still here. His contribution was very instructive, and I wish the member for Sandringham were here. He did not know what benefits his constituents would get. I think some of the member’s descriptions about his involvement in departments would mainly answer those questions from the member for Sandringham. Mr Hodgett interjected. Mr FREGON: Well, I think you should. It was very instructive. This bill gives power to the secretary to cancel a vehicle’s registration if Ad Standards, which is the advertising industry’s complaints resolution body, determines that a vehicle breaches the advertising standards code of ethics. They can then ban a vehicle, and that goes to what many members have been talking about in regard to Wicked Campers, which I will come back to because that is a very good change for our state. The bill also completes the implementation of national heavy vehicle regulation by transferring compliance capabilities to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Just on the vans, about three or four years ago my family went down to the member for Bass’s area. We stayed at Phillip Island for a week during the summer. It was a fantastic holiday. We were walking along the road from the little house that we had rented and I saw this van. It was the first time that I had seen one of them. Picture the family walking along towards the beach: I had my eight-year-old daughter, my five-year-old son and we were probably pushing the pram with Sammy, who is two, and there is this van sitting there with these slogans on it that none of my children should have had to read. I am glad the member for Caulfield is here, because earlier today in his members statement he talked about anti-Semitic sentiments, which are completely intolerable. I completely agree with that. In fact in Mount Waverley earlier this year there was a play The Diary of Anne Frank, and some idiot had put some anti-Semitic graffiti on the advertising for it. It is disappointing that that sort of thing could happen anywhere near our electorates. It is not the same, but it is similar in a way. People are subjected to intolerable comments in a public way, and I think banning that is completely the right thing to do. The late Fiona Richardson, the member for Northcote at the time, said in 2016: If we can do something to rid our roads of Wicked Campers, take down advertising that blurs the line between marketing and misogyny and turn the tables on the trolls, we will do it. I think Fiona was spot on. I would like to add that those vans are foul and they are unnecessary, and anyone who thinks they are funny can in the privacy of their own homes say whatever they like. It does not mean that my children have to read it. Freedom of speech is fine, but there is accountability to freedom of speech. We must be responsible for what we as a society say is okay, and in this bill we are saying that it is not okay, and for that alone this bill is worth passing. Getting onto other aspects of the bill in regard to consolidation, I was very happy to hear the member for Euroa earlier talk about the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL). It is another example of the Big Build—and this is the big build. The member for Eltham also talked about the Big Build, quoting the member for Euroa’s focus on capital letters. I agree with the member for Eltham that we could put the words in capital letters. The best thing is that—apart from the fact that, with all due respect to the member for Euroa, I will never get that 30 minutes back, she led off with a lot of words but with very little substance—when you look at five years of the Andrews Labor government in power and you look at the Big Build, you can pretty well sit in any electorate and point and say, ‘Labor built that. Labor built that. Labor built that’, whereas in the four years before that—not so much. The SRL is a great example of a government looking around to see what needs to be done for the future and for now. The member for Sandringham seems to think that the SRL can be built today and that we do not need to plan it; we are just going to go in and it is going to magically appear. He might have borrowed the member for Prahran’s pink unicorn or something; I do not know what is going on there. But planning is happening, and the geotechnical work that is happening in Glen Waverley right now will determine where the stations will be. If I can make the member for Sandringham feel a little more comfortable, once we know exactly where to put them, once the planning is done properly, then the work will continue, the plan will work and we will see it. I know the people in my district of Mount Waverley are excited; they are ecstatic. They are ecstatic to see this movement. They are seeing the work going on. We will then start working on the next phase, and in eight years, hopefully around that time, we will have digging, we will have stations and we will have a loop in 20 or 30 years. As the Premier said, we will not finish it but it will get done. There are many things that this government is doing and continues to do. I cannot speak about everything in this bill because there is too much of it. But it is crucial, and I commend the bill to the house.