• Big ticket: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews (centre) and treasurer Tim Pallas answering questions about the decision to abandon the East West Link project in April 2015. Joe Castro/AAP Image
  • World’s most liveable city. (Cartoon by Ron Tandberg.)
  • World’s most liveable city. (Cartoon by Ron Tandberg.)

A liveable North East: North East Link Forum

Credit: Nick Carson at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

You can catch up with the A Better North East – North East Link Forum (video link) organised by Samantha Dunn MP held on 17 July 2018 where independent experts John Stone (Melbourne Uni) and Tony Morton (PTUA), and Michelle Giovas (member of Friends of Banyule and Warringal Conservation Society) discuss what solutions are needed to fix congestion in the North East, and the impacts the North East Link will have, including killing off any future plans for Doncaster Rail.

Podcast topics cover the public transport improvements we could see for the same investment as a new toll-road, looking at methods to improve our existing roads and to get trucks off them and exploring the environmental and health impacts of the proposed project.

North East Link Forum #1: Samantha Dunn & Tony Morton: Tony Morton provides background, talking about LA traffic issues, now explaining induced traffic effect, especially when transport alternatives are poor. NELink origins in 1960s freeway plan, linking F18 / F19, prime objective making it ‘easier’ to drive into central Melbourne… then find a parking spot… Tony onto explaining the triple threat of WestGateTunnel, EWLink, NELink.

What’s driving this massive road developments, despite poor BCR for EWLink? Tony Morton believes it’s government allowing unsolicited proposals and Transurban pushing their commercial interests. Why not choose good public transport solutions? Tony mentions poor, out dated traffic modelling. NELink pushes old economic ideas and poor outcomes for future Melbourne residents

North East Link Forum #2: Michelle Giovas: Michelle Giovas from Friends of Banyule and Warringah Conservation Society on NELink impacts upon local environment. Talks about how NELink will remove community assets, public transport, parklands, open space, Banyule wetlands with remnant vegetation. Michelle details huge NELink project impact, affecting six municipal council areas in greater Melbourne. Massive freeway widening along eastern, information not easily publicly available.

Eastern freeway widening for NELink includes new bridge at Merri Creek. New widening is an estimated TWENTY LANES WIDE. She mentions NELink has poor legend on it’s map, actual project area footprint doesn’t include Simpson Barracks, maybe 450 hectares of disturbed land, including Yarra flats, numerous billabongs and local creek headwaters. **Eastern fwy widening is 18km long**

NELink design schematic is extremely confusing, intersections/crossings. Project management believe local creeks where replanting has occurred and wildlife now live are ‘degraded’. Possibly to be replaced with barrel drains. Many endangered and special species live in NELink project area, including fish, grasses, micro bats, birds. Many noticeable older habitat trees, culturally significant areas, Bolin Bolin billabong, songlines tree estimated to be 600 years old

NWLink impacts we can’t see: vehicle emissions, vibration, vegetation removal. Michelle mentions huge West Gate Tunnel tree removal, these were originally planted by the community. Michelle finishes on NELink community impacts, school’s, sport fields, golf course, open space.

North East Link Forum #3: Samantha Dunn & John Stone: John Stone from Melbourne Uni, how communities come together to not allow their cities to be overwhelmed by cars, like NELink. He mentions how Transurban moved quickly after 2014 election to hijack Victorian transport agenda. EES/CIS processes around megaprojects are now designed to confuse the public, simply isn’t worlds best practice. Similar traffic modelling taken to court in QLD/NSW. Only reason for traffic modelling is to distort reality, it’s for bankers and rent seekers, megaprojects like NELink, EWLink, WestGateTunnel aren’t developed as solutions to anything other than financial gain. John talks about lessons learnt from campaigns against EWLink and F19, building strong engaged communities who want a better Melbourne. John concludes: do we want $20-30 BILLION spent on megaprojects or do we want this money spent on hospitals, school’s and public transport.

North East Link Forum #4: Samantha Dunn and Audience Q&A: public questions, speakers + local councillors from Manningham Council, applause when resident mentions she been waiting for Doncaster Rail for over 20 years. Tony Morton explains tired and predictably bureaucratic arguments against Doncaster Rail. Mentions positive example in Western Australia where govt built new line despite criticism. Topics also include air pollution, congestion pricing, psychological health, infrastructure planning and urgent need to have many different perspectives taken into consideration when projects are planned.

North East Link Forum #5: The Greens Transport Plan: Samantha Dunn discusses The Greens’ plan for the North East, build upon DART, advocate for Doncaster Rail, keep existing rail reservation, look at tram extensions and new high quality rapid bus network and routes for Melbourne.

Fix Public Transport in Melbourne: We are not Sardines!

Fix Public Transport in Melbourne: We are not Sardines

Join the Victorian Socialists’ campaign to fix public transport in Melbourne

For the week starting July 9th we’ll be leafleting at train stations and targeting train lines all around northern Melbourne. We’ll have stalls, fliers and even a couple of sardine-themed stunts.

Fix Public Transport in Melbourne: We are not Sardines!

Fix Public Transport in Melbourne: We are not Sardines!

Meet at 7:45am at the following train stations:

  • Monday – Greensborough, Keon Park, Richmond, Clifton Hill, South Kensington, Broadmeadows, Coburg, Moreland
  • Tuesday – Reservoir, Collingwood, Macauley, Batman, Brunswick
  • Wednesday – Watsonia, South Morang, Regent, Upfield, Glenroy, Ansley
  • Thursday – South Morang, Preston, North Richmond, Fawkner, Jewell
  • Friday – Greensborough, Rushall, Flinders, Jewell.

Public transport in Melbourne has suffered from decades of underfunding. Trains and trams are overcrowded, buses are unreliable and the city is still growing fast. Metro Trains is a multinational corporation that is given $600 million annually to run Melbourne’s transport system. Metro makes tens of millions of dollars in profit every year which is paid to shareholders instead of being reinvested into public transport.

The solutions are simple

1. Take public transport back into public hands. The government should stop subsidising Metro’s business and run public transport for people, not for profit.

2. Reinvest in public transport. A modern train signaling system would increase train line capacity and ease the extreme peak hour congestion on trains. We are calling for $1 billion to be reinvested into a better train, tram and bus system for all.

3. We need to fight for free public transport. The cost of running the Myki system isn’t worth it, and paying for an army of ticket inspectors to intimidate poor people is a disaster for public life.

4. We need reliable and frequent transport. We support ten minute all-day and five minute peak hour trains on all northern lines and indeed across the city. Trams should be taken up to 2 and 3 minute frequency in peak hour, and 5-6 mins all day. Bus services should run every ten minutes, all day with direct routes that connect to rail stations and times. All bus services should provide night time and weekend service.

The Law of Large Numbers – How much does it cost to stop a freeway?

Big ticket: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews (centre) and treasurer Tim Pallas answering questions about the decision to abandon the East West Link project in April 2015. Joe Castro/AAP Image

Honest figures about cancelling East West Link, with an attempt to include everyone else’s time and expenses.

Inside Story: The Law of Large Numbers by James Murphy (2 July 2018)

If, like me, you’ve been following the fallout from Melbourne’s East West Link freeway fiasco, you will have noticed that the bill for the Andrews government’s decision to stop the project somehow keeps growing. In April 2015, cancelling the contracts was going to cost the state $339 million in compensation. In December 2015, the ABC reported that the price tag had risen to $1.1 billion. Last week the Age had the cost reaching $1.3 billion.

Victorians will be relieved to hear that the real number is nothing like $1.3 billion. Publicly available information shows that the cost directly incurred by cancelling the contracts was $527,600,000 — a lot of money, but less than half the Age’s figure. That’s $339 million in compensation to the private sector for costs incurred (including compo for losing bids to build it); $81 million in bank fees for a facility set up for the project; $217 million in losses on swaps and other hedges; $600,000 spent by the government on legal and consulting fees to get out of the thing; and subtract from that $110 million in cash returned to state coffers. The figure has shifted a little — some of the bank fees and swaps have fluctuated in price or been repurposed for other projects — but it has remained well short of the billion-dollar mark. Read more

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