Royal Park Protection Group Inc: News Bulletin – September 2008

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No Road Tunnels Protest at Brumby’s Transport Summit, Telstra Dome, 5/9/2008. Photo Cory Baudman

Eddington’s Road Tunnel and Freeway Plans Spell Destruction for Melbourne

Since our last bulletin was released in mid July 2008 the battle for our parks and suburbs has intensified. The Royal Park Protection Group Inc. (RPPG) has been a leading player in the opposition ranks. It is, however, a mighty uneven David and Goliath struggle with community groups pitted against the interlocking interests of State and Federal Government, big business, financial institutions and unions. As reported, inner city Councils of Melbourne, Moonee Valley and Yarra have, however, resolved to oppose road tunnels.

Some good news was that about 2,300 submissions were received in mid July in response to the Eddington Review. (The Department of Transport had expected only 300 and was, reportedly, stunned by the number of submissions pouring in.) Congratulations and thanks to all groups and individuals who cared enough to respond. RPPG managed to obtain an invitation to a Department of Transport forum in Doncaster (one of the eight staged by the Brumby Government in August), ostensibly held to consult with the public on Victoria’s Transport Plan.

We also managed an invitation to a forum held by Bronwyn Pike (Member for Melbourne). Attendance at these “Clayton Consultations” was, however, by invitation only and many groups plus individuals and local residents were refused admission. They were carefully stage managed by the one firm of consultants and avoided any controversial topics, such as the impact of tunnel construction on Royal Park, which will see the Park transformed into a giant quarry over 5 to 10 years of construction and sports fields, community facilities and wetlands ripped up.

Another notable event was the protest outside the Premier’s Transport Summit on 5 September, a joint action with Yarra Campaign against the Tunnel (YCAT) supported by numbers of community groups. This got excellent TV coverage with the “Sustainable Public Transport – No Road Tunnels or Freeways” message and coverage in the Age and local papers.

RPPG and Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc (PPL VIC) representatives met Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas on 20 August and Environment Minister Gavin Jennings on 31 July to discuss our concerns about the Eddington Report. PPL VIC scored an invitation to the Premier’s Transport Summit on 5 September.

Quote of the Month: “That this protest meeting, comprising community representatives from across Melbourne and facilitated by the Royal Park Protection Group Inc. (RPPG) and the Yarra Campaign against the tunnel (YCAT), resolve to request the Transport Summit and the State Government NOT to endorse Sir Rod Eddington’s proposals for road tunnels. We demand that the nominal $9 billion allocated for the East West Link be invested instead in infrastructure for improved and expanded public transport and rail freight in Victoria. We ask that this include rapid transit rail to Doncaster along the Eastern Freeway” Resolution moved at Transport Summit Protest 5 September 2008 and presented to Premier Brumby.

Significant Recent Events in the Campaign Opposing Road Tunnels from mid July 2008

The extraordinary number of events held since mid July concerning Melbourne’s Transport system indicates community support for improved public transport & opposition to new freeways/road tunnels. They include:

  • Tuesday 15 July: “No Tunnels” Rally outside Yarra Council Meeting, Fitzroy Town Hall.
  • Tuesday 22 July: RPPG & PPL VIC meeting with Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu re road tunnels.
  • Sunday 27 July: Ycat Family Day Rally in Fitzroy opposing the road tunnel.
  • Thursday 31 July: RPPG & PPL VIC Meeting with Environment Minister Gavin Jennings on road tunnels.
  • Monday 4 August: Community Meeting “Public Transport not Tunnels”, Footscray.
  • Saturday 9 August: PPL VIC meeting on public transport with films on theme “Bring Back the Connies.”
  • Wednesday 20 August: Meeting of RPPG & PPL VIC with Roads Minister Tim Pallas on road tunnels.
  • Monday 25 August: Department of Transport’s Forum at Doncaster on Melbourne’s Transport Plan.
  • Wednesday 27 August: Bronwyn Pike’s Transport Forum in North Melbourne.
  • Friday 5 September: Premier Brumby’s Transport Summit at Telstra Dome. RPPG & YCAT’s protest re sustainable public transport & opposing road tunnels and freeways. See savehollandpark and ycat websites.
  • Friday 12 September 2008: Age reported that Professor Peter Newman, Director, Institute for Sustainability & Technology Policy, Murdoch University, & adviser to the PM on his infrastructure committee, said Sir Rod Eddington’s proposed $9 billion east-west tunnel should not be built & that it does not provide enough economic benefit to be justified.
  • Wednesday 24 September: State wide Freight Conference attended by RPPG & PPLVIC representatives at which RPPG asked a question of Minister Tim Pallas re the wisdom of spending $9 billion on road tunnels.

Other Recent News: RPPG Submission to Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee Inquiring into Melbourne’s Future Water Supply

RPPG made a submission on the need for local water sourcing projects for parks, gardens and sports grounds such as the sewer mining project proposed by the City of Melbourne and City West Water but failed because of the lack of State funding; water harvesting from roof tops such as the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Royal Park; and the recycling of storm water in wetlands such as those in Royal Park. The Brumby Government is failing to fund local projects and water tanks, only PPP projects such as the north south pipeline and desalination plant. PPL VIC made a submission to end logging of water catchments.

What’s On?

RPPG Meeting: Time :11:30 am Date: Saturday 4 October

Venue: Historic Walmsley House, Royal Park (corner of Gatehouse St. and Royal Parade.)

Travel: Park in Gatehouse St., Tram in Royal Parade. All Welcome.

Protest: Sustainable Public Transport – No New Road Tunnels or Freeways: Sunday 26 October 2008

A coalition of groups from the inner city and western suburbs is holding a community rally:

Time: 12 noon Date: Sunday 26 October 2008

Venue: Under the Clocks at Flinders Street Station corner of Flinders and Swanston Street. (No disrobing as at Pensioners’ and Taxi Drivers’ rallies.)

Picnic in the Park: After participants will cross the bridge to the Alexandra Gardens for a picnic.

Bring Banners and Placards. Contact: Julianne Bell 98184114 or 0408022408 jbell5@bigpond.com

Memberships

Numbers of members have lapsed and subscriptions are overdue. We cannot continue to fight alienation of parkland and destruction of your residential amenity plus improved public transport without assistance. We are enclosing membership forms for those members who need to renew. Please send to our PO Box 197 at Parkville 3052 or pay direct to the MECU (See form.)

Another quote: “Enter Sir Rod Eddington. His report on east-west transport proposes the biggest capital expenditure program in Australian history. Half the $18 billion is for a single road project, which Eddington’s own consultant economists suggest has a benefit-cost ratio well below one — which in plain English means it’s a waste of money.” (Dr Paul Mees, transport guru, Age article of 23 June 2008 entitled “Sorry, Sir Rod, your rail tunnel is just plain loopy”.)

RPPG acknowledges that this bulletin was produced with the assistance of a grant by the City of Melbourne

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