Thursday, August 14, 2008

Victorians' patience is being tested |

by Paul Austin

DID you notice John Brumby change gear? No sooner had the Premier celebrated the first anniversary of his ascension to the top job than he signalled that the pace of change might be a bit slower from here on.

The self-styled Action Man Premier is taking a bit of a breather. Just for the moment, it's not so much hold-on-to-your-hats as steady-as-she-goes.

First it was population. Brumby used his first-anniversary interviews to send the message that our present growth rate of more than 1500 extra people a week is as strong as we want, thank you very much, and he's now going to push gently on the brake pedal.

Then it was transport. Brumby is signalling that, no matter how keen we are for less-clogged roads and trains, there won't be any big new tunnels for years to come. In other words, there is no "magic bullet" solution to Melbourne's transport woes — certainly not in time for Brumby's date with the voters at the 2010 election.

Population and transport are related issues, of course. Brumby argues that the growing pains so evident on the railway stations and arterial roads of the city are at least in part the result of a population boom of unexpected magnitude...

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