Fw: Fri.1.10.21 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Fri.1.10.21 Metro Twitter
Aircraft: No ramp access to platforms until late 2021 (pedestrian-underpass works).
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works.
Mooroolbark: Station closed until late 2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Croydon - Mooroolbark - Lilydale, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
Edithvale/Chelsea/Bonbeach: Stations closed until late 2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Mordialloc - Carrum, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
The level crossings at Argyle Avenue, Bondi Road and Edithvale Road are closed until early-October.  Chelsea Road is closed permanently. See http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/projects/chelsea-road-chelsea
Buses replace trains on sections of the Frankston/Stony Point lines until the last train of Sun 31 Oct (level-crossing works).
Buses replace trains between Newport and Williamstown until the last train of Friday 12 November (level-crossing removal).
Maroondah Highway, Lilydale closed in both directions at the train line for one month, as level-crossing work ramps up on Friday night. John Street will also be closed at this time. See http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/disruptions/maroondah-highway-and-john-street-lilydale-road-closure. ; Buses will replace trains for 6 weeks.
Buses replace trains Ringwood - Lilydale until the last train of Sun 24 Oct (level-crossing works).  Opening the new Mooroolbark and Lilydale stations on Monday 25 October
Night Network buses are changing on Fri 24 Sep. Some routes will expand to a 24-hour weekend service and new routes will run after midnight on weekends.
Night Network will not run 1am - 5am on Saturdays and 1am - 6am on Sundays to support the curfew. 
Hurstbridge line: Buses replace trains Parliament - Macleod from 8:30pm Fri 1 Oct to last train Sun 3 Oct, while maintenance works take place.
18.58 Buses replace trains Essendon - Craigieburn (flooding across rail lines near Pascoe Vale). Buses ordered, ETA 60min. Consider alternatives.
- 19.10 Buses ETA 60min.
- 19.20 Buses ETA 40min.
- 19.30 Buses operating, adding allow 30 min.
- 19.53 Trains resuming, with major delays.  First trains: 19.25 Flinders St - Craigieburn; 19.45 Broadmeadows - Flinders St.
Buses replace trains on sections of the Mernda line from 20.30 until the last train of Sun 3 Oct (maintenance works).

New chief of controversial rail corporation pockets $575,000 a year. Matt O'Sullivan October 1, 2021
The third chief executive of a controversial rail corporation in just over 14 months is paid $575,000 a year, it was revealed at an inquiry on Friday as NSW public servants came under pressure to explain the rationale for the entity.
Under questioning on the first day of a parliamentary inquiry, the new chief of the Transport Asset Holding Entity Benedicte Colin revealed she is paid about the equivalent of the NSW Treasury secretary’s salary.
She began as TAHE’s permanent chief executive last month, replacing David Jurd who had been interim CEO since April. The state-owned corporation, which has just 20 staff, is under serious scrutiny from both the inquiry and the NSW Auditor-General who is conducting two separate reviews.
About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity.CREDIT:RHETT WYMAN
Labor tabled documents to the inquiry showing that Mr Jurd was paid “towards the maximum end” of the pay scale proposed in a report by adviser Mercer due to the short-term nature of his role, while Ms Colin was expected to receive a lower salary as his permanent replacement.
The government had previously refused to reveal what the TAHE chief executives were paid, saying it would be disclosed in the corporation’s annual report later this year.
Ms Colin, a former boss of public transport group Keolis Downer, was approached for the role at TAHE in about February this year, shortly before its inaugural CEO Anne Hayes took planned sick leave.
The revolving door of CEOs at TAHE since July last year has raised questions about its future, as internal documents have shown the government has considered winding up the entity which owns nearly $40 billion of the state’s trains, stations and other rail assets.
A Herald investigation revealed in June that TAHE was set up in 2015 to enable the government to hide the costs of the rail system by shifting billions of dollars of expenses off the books and into the state-owned corporation.
A trove of confidential documents has previously revealed that NSW Treasury pressured accounting giant KPMG to delete or amend aspects of a report commissioned by Transport for NSW last year that found the TAHE could end up costing the state’s coffers more than it saved.
Under questioning at the inquiry, Treasury executive director Cassandra Wilkinson said she had requested that “errors” relating to fiscal and economic matters in the KPMG report commissioned by the transport agency be corrected.
Asked whether it had led to conflict between Treasury and the transport agency, Ms Wilkinson responded: “We’re public servants – we don’t have fights, but we do have disagreements.”
Treasury deputy secretary San Midha also told the inquiry he had contacted the report’s author, KPMG partner Brendan Lyon, multiple times, and he “probably” raised his concerns about the report with the Treasury secretary Michael Pratt.
A confidential submission by Treasury and the transport agency to cabinet in 2016, which has been obtained by the Herald, reveals that the “positive Budget impacts” of TAHE were “significant”, projecting it to boost the state budget by almost $7 billion over four years.
While declining to comment on a cabinet document, Mr Midha repeatedly told the inquiry that TAHE had no significant impact on the state budget. “The existence of TAHE is budget neutral,” he said.
Mr Midha also rejected suggestions from Labor treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey that TAHE was created to shift expenses off the NSW budget, saying it was set up as a commercial entity to better manage the state’s rail assets.
RELATED ARTICLE Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance. Premier warned about safety risks posed by setting up $40b rail entity
RELATED ARTICLE Composite of the NSW Treasury document and a Transport for NSW train. ‘Budget lie’: Internal forecasts show rail entity propping up state’s finances

‘Not worthy’: Dominello damns plans for $100m bus interchange in Sydney’s north. Matt O'Sullivan October 1, 2021
NSW government minister Victor Dominello has lashed out at plans for a $100 million bus interchange at Macquarie Park, describing them as “not worthy” for the fast-growing area and demanding that his ministerial colleague revise them.
His intervention follows criticism from Ryde Council that Transport for NSW had discarded two designs it had proposed for the bus interchange and precinct upgrade at Macquarie Park.
Mr Dominello, the Member for Ryde and Customer Service Minister, said Transport Minister Andrew Constance should rethink his agency’s proposal, and urged people to sign a petition to “push for a fit-for-purpose” transport and community hub for Macquarie Park.
Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello, left, and Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance.CREDIT:SMH
Mr Dominello said Transport for NSW’s latest plans were “not worthy of the Macquarie Park area”, which deserved “more than a bus interchange”.
“A fit-for-purpose transport/community hub will enhance our local interactions to create a modern-day innovation village,” he said in a circular to constituents in Ryde.
Transport for NSW’s concept plan for the bus interchange at Macquarie Park.CREDIT:TRANSPORT FOR NSW
Ryde Council had wanted the project to incorporate major improvements to the centre of Macquarie Park, including a public plaza where Herring Road meets Waterloo Road.
But the council has been told by Transport for NSW that the agency was pursuing plans that exclude a pedestrian plaza, and will result in the installation of bus-only lanes on Herring Road.
The project was unveiled during a federal byelection for the seat of Bennelong in late 2017, with the Commonwealth committing $80 million and the state government $20 million. Early design work included deciding whether part of the interchange should be built underground.
Federal Liberal MP John Alexander, who won the 2017 byelection, also said the transport agency’s plans for the interchange were a “missed opportunity”.
“Macquarie Park is one of the fastest-growing business areas in Sydney, but it is the only one that has no central area for the community to mingle, meet and live,” he said.
An artist’s impression of Ryde Council’s concept plans for the interchange and public plaza at Macquarie Park.CREDIT:RYDE COUNCIL
“This interchange is the ideal location to have an inclusive and accessible area that not only facilitates access to public transport but is also an asset for our community.”
Construction of the interchange is due to start late next year and be completed by the end of 2024.
A comment was sought from Mr Constance.

OCTOBER 1 2021 NSW dept sacked manager for helping police Luke Costin
A manager was unlawfully sacked for helping police investigate Nicole Cartwright's murder.
The NSW transport department sacked a manager for serious and wilful misconduct when he gave information to homicide detectives.
The police were investigating the 2018 murder of Nicole Cartwright, allegedly at the hands of former departmental employee Dennis James Pietrobon.
Forensic manager Thomas Wood saw media reports of Pietrobon's arrest in May 2020 and immediately approached police, telling them of his investigations into the accused before Pietrobon's dismissal in 2019.
One investigation concerned an allegation that Pietrobon stalked and sexually harassed a colleague and had used fetish dating apps at work to download naked pictures.
Another centred on Pietrobon's failure to disclose a conviction for punching a school student.
After calling Crime Stoppers, Mr Wood then advised his manager and emailed superiors about "information critical to possible murder investigation".
Rather than invite police to seize the records it had on Pietrobon, including his work computer and phone, the department sacked Mr Wood for misconduct within a week of him contacting police.
Mr Wood was also advised that what he had done went to the question of whether Transport for NSW could "continue to have trust and confidence in you as an employee".
The NSW Supreme Court on Friday overturned that dismissal, finding it was unlawful and that Mr Wood was entitled to damages.
As a result of Mr Wood's challenge to his sacking, it emerged the police had already sought information about Pietrobon from Transport for NSW, before he was charged.
That request was dealt with by its general counsel but did not result in the records Mr Wood had identified being provided.
It took until February or March 2021 for the department to eventually provide the records to police.
Transport for NSW defended the case, saying its acting "chief people officer" acted within contractual rights to sack Mr Wood for failure to maintain confidentiality regarding the unauthorised release of confidential information and failing to protect personal information collected by TfNSW.
It tried to draw a distinction between information which had come into Mr Wood's possession as an employee, rather than as "a natural person".
"Incredibly" it also claimed Mr Wood's interview with police after his dismissal was also a breach of the department's code of conduct, Acting Justice Monika Schmidt dismissed said,
The judge said it was difficult to see that the records would ever have been provided to police without Mr Wood coming forward.
The employee after all was obliged to tell police of the information, as per the law against concealing information related to serious offences, she said.
"(TfNSW) was not above the law and could not constrain either the police, or Mr Wood providing his further assistance, as he did," she said.
Why TfNSW embarked on a procedurally unfair course of sacking Mr Wood was "simply unexplained".
But the failure to call evidence from people who could have shed light on the issue "supports the conclusion that their evidence would not have assisted" the department's case, Justice Schmidt found.
The judge also expressed concern about Mr Wood's then immediate manager.
Upon being told of Mr Wood's first call to Crime Stoppers, the manager's worry wasn't directed to the department's records being relevant to a murder investigation but instead that Mr Wood may have breached confidentiality.
Mr Wood's payout is expected to include more than 90 weeks of his salary, plus any leave entitlements.
Pietrobon was never tried for murder after taking his own life in custody in April 2020.

1438 new cases, five deaths; change to Pfizer doses bring earlier end to lockdown.  Olivia Jenkins, Mitch Clarke, Miles Proust, Kieran Rooney and Anthony Piovesan October 1, 2021. 2540 comments
Big public transport disruptions loom after a Yarra Trams driver tested positive to Covid, forcing scores of staff into isolation. It comes as Dan Andrews backed his “go hard, go early” lockdown.
video: Illegal gatherings generated ‘significant case load’ in Victoria
Tram passengers face significant disruption on Friday after a Yarra Trams driver tested positive to Covid-19 — forcing scores of drivers and staff across the city and Essendon tram depots to test and isolate.
A Yarra Trams spokesperson said “earlier this week we recorded a positive case from a tram driver based in our Essendon Depot”.
“Contact tracing has taken place, and numerous staff are in isolation.”
“Yarra Trams will endeavour to provide as regular a service as possible across the four most impacted routes, but a high number of service cancellations are expected.”
“We apologise for any inconvenience as we work to keep our employees and passengers safe and ensure tram services continue across the network.”
Most of the staff isolating are secondary contacts and will be allowed to return to work after returning a negative test..
The affected routes are:
Route 57 (West Maribyrnong to Flinders Street Station)
Route 58 (West Coburg to Toorak)
Route 59 (Airport West to Flinders Street Station)
Route 82 (Moonee Ponds to Footscray).

Fri.1.10.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Trackless 'trams'.  KIERAN ROONEY
An unconventional solution to build a “trackless” tram route out to Rowville is a step closer to reality, with the four local councils covered by the project backing the plan.
Local residents have been campaigning for decades to build a rail line out to the area and tackle crippling congestion.
But governments have been unable to agree on funding a proposal.
To break the deadlock, Monash University and Vicinity Centres have put forward a proposal for a hi-tech rapid transit system running along dedicated lanes between Caulfield Station and Rowville.
It would cost $l.4bn and be delivered at least two years before more expensive light and heavy rail options.
They have previously been described as “trackless trams” but run on wheels rather than on tracks.
Each vehicle is built wider, heavier and across multiple carriages to resemble a conventional tram.
The project is firming up as the likely choice for funding between state and federal governments after receiving popular support from local councils and major employment providers in the area.
Stonnington, Glen Eira, Monash and Knox Councils have called on the state government to move to creating a business case, with discussions now well advanced.
Monash University chief operating officer Peter Marshall said the project was needed to reduce traffic around the booming employment hub.
“This simple, cost-effective transport solution will help streamline the commute for thousands of people each day along the busy road corridor between Caulfield and Rowville,” he said.
“It will also increase access to the Suburban Rail Loop through its connections to the Monash station.
“Monash University has welcomed previous commitments from the federal and state governments to deliver transport solutions for the southeast economic corridor, and we again urge the governments to prioritise funding for this significant project.”
The proposal has also been designed to better fit in with the state government’s Suburban Rail Loop project and will connect to one of the new stations set to be built.
The Demographic Group executive director Bernard Salt said Melbourne was crying out for more “agile” and “articulated” public transport and the link out to Rowville was an ideal first step.
“There is a need to fill the gaps between the big fixed plays like the Suburban Rail Loop and Metro Tunnel,” he said.
Mr Salt said there would be less of a focus on the CBD in the future.
He said new ideas were needed to help people live and work around hubs across the suburbs.
“Melbourne (transport) looked like a fried egg,” he said. “Post-Covid we will see more of the 20-minute city concept.”

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