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East West Link defeat: Anthony Main explains how it was done

22 May 2015: At the book launch of “Beating the big end of town”, author Anthony Main recounts how community pickets and various other protest activities contributed to the defeat of the East-West link toll road project.

SP Educational: Beating the Big End of Town: 2.30pm, The Brunswick Green, Saturday 20th June 2015

The campaign that defeated the East West Toll Road was one of the most significant victories against the big business agenda in Australia for decades. Despite huge odds stacked against them, ordinary people changed the course of history, ending a project that was arrogantly treated as a ‘done deal’ by establishment politicians and the corporate media.

The influence of Marxism within the campaign – through the leadership of the Socialist Party – is undeniable. Socialist Party’s efforts to inject the campaign with socialist ideas and methods were reflected in the tactics and strategy that were key to the campaign ultimately succeeding.

Over a series of weeks, SP will host an educational series based on Anthony Main’s recently released book “Beating the Big End of Town: How a Community Defeated the East West Toll Road”. By discussing the book, we will explain more deeply the link between Marxist ideas and the success of the campaign and draw out the key lessons which can and should be applied to other community campaigns in future.

The educational should interest all socialists, environmentalists, community campaigners and unionists looking to learn about what role Marxist ideas and methods can play in fighting the big business agenda in their lives and communities. To obtain a copy of the book before the educational series begins, contact the SP National Office on +61 (3) 9639 9111

East West Link Deal Finalised

Premier of Victoria: East West Link Deal Finalised Monday (15 June 2015)

The Andrews Labor Government has reached binding final agreements with the East West Connect consortium (EWC), formalising the in principle deal that was agreed in April.

Under the deal, the State acquires the EWC business and associated project assets for $1. It confirms the final cost to the State includes $339 million in costs incurred by EWC through the bid process and design pre-construction and $81 million that was spent to establish the credit facility for the project.

The State has also negotiated a $3.1 billion bond agreement, available for the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, with members of the EWC banking group.

The bond agreement, along with the swap arrangement, will be managed by Treasury Corporation Victoria.

The Metro bond agreement provides the State with financing capability for Melbourne Metro, at a far lower cost to the Victorian taxpayer than the project banking facility provided to EWC.

Combined with the $1.5 billion announced in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget, the Government has now secured more than $4.5 billion for the transformative rail project, almost half the total expected cost.

The State has appointed Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation to act as joint lead managers for the issuance program.

The Government thanks all parties for their cooperation.

Quotes attributable to Treasurer, Tim Pallas

“Before the election, we promised that a Labor Government would not proceed with the Liberals’ East West Link and would not be liable for compensation. These promises have been kept.”

“While not a cause for celebration, it allows Victorians to move forward and focus on projects that stack up.”

“The Andrews Labor Government will now get on with building projects that our State needs and that Victorians voted for.”

‘Peak car’ makes building freeways risky

Falling car use is one of the most important trends in infrastructure and it should be discussed more than it is by decision makers, an infrastructure summit has been told. Craig Abraham

Falling car use is one of the most important trends in infrastructure and it should be discussed more than it is by decision makers, an infrastructure summit has been told. Craig Abraham

AFR: ‘Peak car’ makes building freeways risky by Geoff Winestock (11 June 2015)

A worldwide trend away from driving cars should make investors and governments more cautious about building big new motorways, says John Daley, chief executive of the Grattan Institute.

Mr Daley told The Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Summit that falling car use was one of the most important trends in infrastructure and it should be discussed more than it was by decision makers.

“We should be very careful about the assumption that road usage is going to keep rising in the future at the same rate as it has in the past,” Mr Daley said.

The most recent Bureau of Transport Infrastructure and Regional Economics data suggested passenger kilometres travelled was falling or stable, he said. This was in line with global trends, which suggested a significant change was happening in all developed countries. It was confirmed by other measures, such as falling car ownership, people obtaining drivers licenses later and fewer people having drivers licences. Continue Reading…

Comedian and environmental activist Rod Quantock receives Medal of the Order of Australia in Queen’s Birthday Honours

A comedian with a conscience: Rod Quantock's conservation work has been awarded. Photo: James Penlidis

A comedian with a conscience: Rod Quantock’s conservation work has been awarded. Photo: James Penlidis

The Age: Comedian and environmental activist Rod Quantock receives Medal of the Order of Australia in Queen’s Birthday Honours. Debbie Cuthbertson, Arts Editor, The Age (8 June 2015)

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

ROD QUANTOCK –  Comedian and environmental activist

Clifton Hill comedian Rod Quantock may be best known for his work on stage and TV, but his Medal of the Order of Australia equally recognises his services to sustainability and conservation as well as the performing arts.

The star of TV comedies including Australia, You’re Standing In It and Melbourne International Comedy Festival veteran has also joined community campaigns including protests against the East West Link, the grassroots fight to stop McDonalds from opening in Tecoma and the push to save Albert Park when the Australian Formula One Grand Prix came to Melbourne.

He combines the two disciplines in his latest project, predicated upon the “extinction” of the Tim Tam due to peak oil and climate change.

“Half my life is being a comedian and the other half talking about sustainability,” Quantock, 66, says. “I’ve spent 10 years working on climate change and peak oil and doing shows on them.” Continue Reading…

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