Paul Mees speaking at the Brimbank Residents meeting.
On Tuesday, 12 August 2008 Chris, Steve and I represented YCAT at a Brimbank Residents Meeting at the Glengala Community Centre in Sunshine.
The meeting was well attended, 250 residents and representatives from local Resident Groups who voted to formalise the Brimbank Campaign Against the Tunnel and elected a Steering Committee.
Paul Mees, as the keynote speaker, regaled the meeting with a personal, pertinent travel antidotes of his journey from the city to the meeting venue which involved several hours, no connecting transport links, extreme cold, no shelters and refugees who could not understand why Australia, as a first world country, has worse public transport than their country of origin.
Paul also had some interesting statistics on the Sydenham Line – in 1998 there were four peak hour trains a day, two in the morning and two in the evening, with the recent 2008 increase in service on the Sydenham Line there are five trains a day. An increase of one (1) train in ten years at a time been 300,000 people a day now travel to the city to work They certainly can’t drive as 300,000 people in two square meters leaves no room for cars.
In the later part of his speech, Paul Mees indicated that, from his perspective the infrastructure for increasing public transport already exists – Use the existing rail system…. it is (already) the most extensive by world standards. The alternatives (to road transportation) are not explored as the consultants and government ministries and departments favour roads. It is not even an economic argument – the proposed 9.5 billion is three times the cost of the Snowy Mountains Scheme”
Paul concluded with a quote from a Transport Officer in Vancouver, who on hearing of the situation in Australia and specifically Victoria said How do they (the government) get away with it? How indeed?
Following Paul Mees, Colleen Hartland, Upper House, and Melbourne West spoke and pledged the Greens support for the campaign and agreed to ask a number of questions in the house on behalf of the meeting.
I was then asked to speak for YCAT, which I did by outlining our campaign structure and focus in Yarra. Several speakers followed this from the floor and one local councillor.
- The primary concerns of the residents of Brimbank are:
- The Toll Road
- The lack of community consultation by the State Government
- The secrecy surrounding the Eddington Plans
- The proposed truck and transport link with the Westgate Freeway
- The loss of private homes estimated at 500+ and compensation?
- The grief and community dislocation this will cause
- The probable elevated tollway connection to the Western Ring Road
It was a positive and empowering meeting and, on behalf of YCAT, we indicated our commitment to work together on this campaign.