Sep 6, 2018
Transport impacts all aspect of our lives – both public and private transport networks impact how we get to work, how our kids go to school, how we go to the football, how we socialise and it also affects our environment.

With this in mind, a new political party has thrown its hat in the ring ahead of November’s state election. The Transport Matters Party, or Transport Matters for short, intends to make a difference for people who are challenged by transport issues both in metropolitan and regional areas.

Transport Matters has emerged through the increasing frustrations about a city growing larger than its infrastructure can handle and the desire for a new political voice to address these concerns in a way that considers those communities most affected by political decisions to deliver an outcome that achieves a better balance.

Environmental issues and small business interests will also shape part of the “centre-left” agenda, but transport will be at the party’s core.  Major road and rail projects proved a key battleground in the 2014 election and there are signs that this could repeat in November.

The party was formed by long-time hire car and taxi operators Rod Barton and André Baruch, partially in reaction to the Victorian Labor Government’s deregulation of the taxi industry.  But Mr Barton insists he is not launching a “protest party”.

“Transport Matters Party will participate in the 2018 Victorian State Election with one clear objective – to give back a voice to local communities,” party leader Rod Barton said.

“Transport Matters is going to be the party that will challenge the current government and make the public aware that they have another choice in political parties come November 24.”

“We believe we must constantly strive for improvement of the entire transport and infrastructure network throughout Victoria in order to enhance everyone’s quality of life and preserve the environment”, Mr Barton said.

As major transport policies are being rolled out by the two major parties ahead of the upcoming state election, in Parliament, Transport Matters intends to work “from the inside” by holding the government to account to ensure they do things right by considering
the impact of all aspects of their decisions in transport.

Transport Matters Party does not wish to see a repeat of the appalling treatment of those families who have been so adversely affected by previous Government decisions on Skyrail and the revocation of Taxi Licences.

Candidates will target marginal seats where the party’s multicultural membership has strong backing, including Cranbourne where there is a sizeable Indian community, and bayside seats such as Oakleigh, home to many Greek families.

“With origins in the taxi and hire car industry, the campaigning has already started from driver’s seats”, Mr Barton said.

“Our members hear customer’s frustrations every day and their desire for a new political voice.”

“Melbourne is grinding to a halt,” he said.  “It’s hopeless trying to get around in peak hour these days, and peak hour lasts so much longer. People like us deal with this every day, and we hear from the public from the inside of our cars.”

“I think there is a real mood for something new … you’d be surprised at the level of support we are getting from our customers.”

“People are frustrated with the antics of the red team and the blue team ... we need some fresh blood,” Rod Barton said.

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