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Free public transport just the ticket to reopen, recover and rebuild Melbourne’s CBD

Public transport from anywhere in the state to Melbourne’s CBD should be free to all Victorians over summer to make it cheaper and easier for workers, shoppers, diners and tourists to get where they need to be.

Melbourne’s CBD – once famous for its dining, entertainment, major events and nightlife – has become an unrecognisable ghost town.

A year and a half of Labor lockdowns has stripped the CBD of five hundred thousand office workers no longer coming into the city every day, with office buildings now recording just 7 per cent occupancy.

The Victorian Liberal Nationals today announce the next step in our plan to breathe life into our state’s capital and help make Melbourne the world’s most liveable city again with free public transport to the Melbourne CBD.

Under our plan, anyone travelling via tram, train or bus into the Melbourne CBD, including from regional Victoria, or across the metropolitan Melbourne network should travel for free from 1 December 2021 to 30 January 2022.

It will save metropolitan passengers up to $9 per day.

It will also cut costs for regional Victorians travelling to the CBD for work, retail or to see friends and family over the Christmas holidays, including a daily saving of $91.20 for people travelling from Swan Hill, $82 from Albury, $78.40 from Bairnsdale, $53.20 from Shepparton or $78.40 from Warrnambool.

Labor’s lockdowns have ripped out Melbourne’s heart and we need positive, proactive ideas to bring back vibrancy as Victoria reopens, rebuilds and recovers. The Andrews Labor Government must now adopt measures like this that will help our state recover.

As vaccination rates continue to increase and restrictions ease, now is the time to support Victorians return to a normal way of life and help get our city back to the place we all know and love.

Public transport use has plummeted through the pandemic, with restrictions on travel and fear for personal health seeing usage drop to just 8 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport, Steph Ryan:

“A saving of more than $90 a day on public transport is exactly the early Christmas present Victorians need after a harrowing 18 months of lockdowns that have had a devastating mental, social and financial toll.

“Free public transport over summer is another reason for people to return to the CBD for work, to spend time with family and friends at restaurants, pubs and cafes and to do Christmas shopping.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for CBD Recovery, Jobs & Employment, David Southwick:

“As Victoria begins to reopen we need to support family and friends, shoppers, workers and visitors getting out and about once again.

“Whether it be a shopping trip to the CBD, a visit to the Zoo or a catch up with friends at St Kilda beach – our plan makes it cheaper and easier for Victorians to get back to the thing they love.”

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