On the 28 March 29, 2012 representatives of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc (PPL) and the Royal Park Protection Group Inc. traveled to Canberra to put the case to the Federal Government NOT to fund the Baillieu Government’s proposed East West Link (EW Link) but to improve public transport. Sixteen community organisations supported our delegation and our message – “Say Yes to Public Transport – Say No to More Freeways/Tollways”.
The Baillieu Government has resurrected Sir Rod Eddington’s discredited road transport project and the Premier now has it as the centrepiece of his recently announced transport plan. The Victorian State Government has asked the Federal Government to provide funds of $30 million for a “review”. This would be the third review in the last 10 years. This extension of the Eastern Freeway in a tunnel through the inner city suburbs cannot be justified on economic grounds and would impose colossal environmental costs on Melbourne. It would actually generate additional road congestion at a time when we should be encouraging greater use of public transport.
Julianne Bell, PPL Secretary, who attended the meeting at Parliament House Canberra yesterday with Federal Infrastructure Minister Albanese’s staff on the proposed EW Link commented: “We were anxious to ensure that Minister Albanese is made aware that the EW Link project is not economically viable. I quoted Kenneth Davidson, a regular contributor on economics to the Age and co-editor of ‘Dissent’, who said in his article of 27 November 2011 entitled ‘Why the east-west road tunnel is a stinker’ that ‘the benefit-cost ratio is 0.5, according to the traditional measure, and 0.7, according to Eddington’. We pointed out that, if constructed according to the Eddington Plan, the EW Link would destroy heritage streetscapes and residential amenity of inner Melbourne suburbs, in addition to causing widespread traffic chaos. Plus it would devastate major parks namely Royal, Holland and Travancore Parks along its route.”
Ian Hundley a PPL representative and a member of the Hoddle Street Transport Study (now suspended) said: “I raised the point at the Canberra meeting that we actively support extension of rail services to Doncaster, which is currently being studied by the Baillieu Government. This project would be potentially jeopardised by any decision to fund the EW Link road tunnel. The future viability of Melbourne depends upon getting people out of cars onto public transport. This is what a Doncaster Rail Link would do, as would a rail service to Melbourne airport.”
PPL members learnt from Minister Albanese’s staff that the Commonwealth infrastructure fund for “Nation Building” has been fully committed for the period up until 2013-14. If the Victorian State Government’s East-West Link is to be funded during this period, “money would have to be found elsewhere”. It is our view that the Commonwealth Government should only fund projects, which provide sustainable transport and protect and preserve the built and natural environment.
We are calling on PPL members and the general public to write to the Hon. Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport at HYPERLINK “mailto:A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au” A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au Please send a submission or even a simple message opposing funding of the EW Link and supporting funding of public transport, especially the Doncaster Rail Link along the Eastern Freeway.
Julianne Bell, Secretary Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
Say No to East/West Tunnel & Toll Roads: Ycat congratulates the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. (PPL VIC) on their initiative, focus and action on behalf of the community. Please register your support by commenting on the Ycat website – this is a public forum and a great way to reflect community opinion on the proposed East/West Tunnel and Toll Road.