ABC: Protesters told to stop the ‘pointless’ demonstrations against East West Link. Updated Fri 10 Jan 2014, 1:42pm AEDT
East West Link protesters circle drill site with police standing nearby
PHOTO: Around 50 protestors blockaded the test drill site at Fitzroy. (ABC News: Tony Nicholls)
Victoria’s Acting Premier Peter Ryan has implored to protesters to stop what he calls their “pointless” fight against the East West Link.
About 50 protesters have again picketed a test drill site on Alexandra Parade in Fitzroy, after forming a human chain and blocking peak-hour traffic in Collingwood yesterday.
The protesters are trying to stop test drilling along the route of the first phase the East West Link, the new 18-kilometre road link that will connect the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road.
Mr Ryan says the protesters have had their say.
“We now have the circumstance of a significant number of police being committed to this nonsense each day,” he said.
“The people are endangering themselves by what they did yesterday.
In the end it is all pointless. The road will be built.
Peter Ryan, Acting Victorian Premier
“In the end, it is all pointless. The road will be built.”
Protest organiser Anthony Main says the 40 pickets over the last four months have successfully stalled the tunnel project.
“What we’re trying to do is stop the Government from signing these contracts five minutes before the election,” he said.
Mr Ryan says the Victorian public have had enough.
“This project is 3,200 jobs and is an enormous benefit to our state and these people better recognise it and let’s just let work get on,” Mr Ryan said.
“Part of it’s rent-a-crowd, without a shadow of a doubt. They’ve been identified.”
Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay says the cost of the police operation is growing daily.
“The longer it goes on there is an enormous impact on police resources,” he said.
“You look at the thousands of protest that occur across Melbourne in any given year, very very few of them turn violent.
“One needs to ask the question why in this case we seem to be faced with violent confrontation on a daily basis.”
Road ramps just 8 metres from aged care home
The Elderly Chinese Home at Parkville is concerned that the five-storey freeway ramps will be built just eight metres from its facility.
The State Government says the final site of ramps has not been finalised.
The board has asked the Government to consider moving them.
But Mr Mulder says the matter is still in the hands of the Planning Minister, and the Government is well aware of the board’s concerns.
“It may well be there could an alteration to where the ramps are,” Mr Mulder said.
“They may not be as close to the nursing home as first envisaged.
“Until we’ve gone through that process and until the Minister for Planning has looked at all of the submissions, looked at all of the recommendations from the planning panel, we really can’t do a lot more.”