Yarra council accuses state of trying to gag link criticism

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The Age:  Yarra council accuses state of trying to gag link criticism (August 8, 2013) Henrietta Cook, State Political Reporter at The Age

The Arden Street ramps will go directly past the new Kensington apartment owned by Janine Mackenzie. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

The state government has been accused of silencing criticism of the east-west link after it told Yarra Council it had breached its powers by campaigning against the toll road.

Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell used the Local Government Act to order the inner-city council to hand over details of how much it had spent on its Trains Not Tollroads campaign, which opposes the east-west link in favour of public transport.

In a letter to the council dated July 12, Ms Powell said it was appropriate for councils to make representations to the state government on preferred options before a government decision, and to make representations to alleviate the impact of the project construction. ”It is a different matter to wage a public campaign against a project of state significance such as the east-west link that has been decided and which is lawfully within the jurisdiction of the state to determine … to do so, goes beyond the powers provided by the act.”

The residents of Bent Street, Kensington, may face worse news, with their properties slated to be acquired.

Yarra mayor Jackie Fristacky said the letter was undemocratic and went against the Local Government Act, which says the role of councils is to advocate in the interests of the community.

“It’s an attempt to silence the City of Yarra and its advocacy for its community and for Melbourne.”

Ms Fristacky said there was a long history of councils challenging state government decisions.

She cited Yarra and Stonnington councils’ campaign against clearways, which was supported by the Coalition.

She said Yarra council had allocated $200,000 in its most recent budget for the campaign and the funding details were publicly available.

A state government spokeswoman said Ms Powell had “written to the City of Yarra concerning an issue of the appropriate use of public resources under the powers delegated to councils by the Local Government Act 1989”.

5 thoughts on “Yarra council accuses state of trying to gag link criticism”

  1. chrisg says:

    The government is looking increasingly desperate with their ill considered decision to go ahead with this mad scheme. If they think trying to silence the local community is a good strategy in 2013, you have to wonder…

    It was Perth’s local councils that spearheaded the campaign to build trains not toll roads.

  2. Robert Rivas says:

    Ah yes, the devil in the detail – the off/on ramps!!!! Because wherever you get off the tollway to get to your inner city destination, you’re going to run into a huge traffic snarl as you merge with the traffic that’s already on those congested inner city roads. You’ll be spending half an hour or more crawling along the last couple of km’s to your destination, and on top of that, you’ll be paying a great whacking toll for the privilege and burning up loads of fuel sitting in the snarl every morning and every evening! That’s why trains are needed for this particular job, not tollways!!!

  3. Michael says:

    And what does the Premier talk about? Spending up to $1.8 BILLION on Flinders St station! For that money, he could build the Doncaster railway from the Clifton Hill line (which does have the capacity to take the extra trains – don’t believe the lies) right out to East Doncaster with stations at North Kew, Bulleen, Doncaster and East Doncaster, perhaps even Donvale! But what do we get? Improvement to the rail system? No, talk of a massive vanity project, another Southern Cross. Flinders St Station is a tourist icon as it is. Tourists love it!

  4. Robert says:

    It’s all very well having a tollway take you close to your inner city destination quickly, until, of course, you get onto the off ramp and get caught up in a massive snarl on the already congested road and take half an hour to do the last few kilometres to your inner city destination. That’s why we need trains, not toll roads!

  5. Robert says:

    all very well having a tollway take you close to your inner city destination quickly, until, of course, you get onto the off ramp and get caught up in a massive snarl on the already congested road and take half an hour to do the last few kilometres to your inner city destination. That’s why we need trains, not toll roads!

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