The Age Letters: This crisis offers a chance to do better

The Age Letters: This crisis offers a chance to do better (11th November, 2008)

If the world financial crisis causes extravagant, unsustainable infrastructure projects like Sir Rod Eddington’s $9 billion road tunnel to be scrapped (“Transport strategy delay as federal funding wobbles”, The Age, 8/11), there would be a silver lining to this otherwise dark cloud.

Let’s hope it hinders other unsustainable projects like the desalination plant, which will double the cost of water, and the Frankston bypass, which bisects the last metropolitan habitat of the southern brown bandicoot and pastoral landscapes down to Moorooduc. If it takes developer pressure off green wedges, so much the better.

Let’s follow Ross Garnaut’s advice and use the the $12 billion left in the Building Australia Fund for projects that contribute to solving, rather than worsening, climate change problems. Let’s build railway lines to forgotten suburbs; put money into recycling stormwater and sewage so we can close the Gunnamatta outfall and the stinking drains into the bay.

The credit crunch has silenced self-serving housing industry pleas for more land for affordable housing, which developers do not provide anyway. Let us build public housing by the Government purchasing 20% of new housing, which should be environmentally sustainable developments. Let’s provide what people need, not just construction company profits.

Rosemary West, Edithvale Continue Reading…

The Age Letters: Talking to all the ‘right’ people

Right: Colleen Hartland (The Greens) and Julianne Bell (Royal Park Protection Group) at Fridays protest at Telstra Dome

The Age: Talking to all the ‘right’ people (September 8, 2008)

Premier John Brumby claims that we have been consulted over Sir Rod Eddington’s grand transport plan for Melbourne (Insight, 6/9). In the past month, eight transport forums — Clayton’s consultations — were held in country Victoria and outer suburbs, none in central Melbourne.

Then some Government MPs did their own thing and held forums. Carefully selected individuals and community groups were invited, but many were refused admission. ALP members did score invitations.

Forum facilitators ensured that controversial topics were not raised — such as Eddington’s $9 billion road tunnels through the inner city and elevated freeways through the western suburbs.

On Friday, the Premier evaded protesters waiting to present him with demands for sustainable public transport, slipping into his transport summit through the Telstra Dome car park. Not only is the Premier not properly consulting, but he also isn’t listening to the wider public on Melbourne’s transport fiascos.

Julianne Bell, convener, Royal Park Protection Group, Hawthorn