A liveable North East: North East Link Forum

Credit: Nick Carson at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

You can catch up with the A Better North East – North East Link Forum (video link) organised by Samantha Dunn MP held on 17 July 2018 where independent experts John Stone (Melbourne Uni) and Tony Morton (PTUA), and Michelle Giovas (member of Friends of Banyule and Warringal Conservation Society) discuss what solutions are needed to fix congestion in the North East, and the impacts the North East Link will have, including killing off any future plans for Doncaster Rail.

Podcast topics cover the public transport improvements we could see for the same investment as a new toll-road, looking at methods to improve our existing roads and to get trucks off them and exploring the environmental and health impacts of the proposed project.

North East Link Forum #1: Samantha Dunn & Tony Morton: Tony Morton provides background, talking about LA traffic issues, now explaining induced traffic effect, especially when transport alternatives are poor. NELink origins in 1960s freeway plan, linking F18 / F19, prime objective making it ‘easier’ to drive into central Melbourne… then find a parking spot… Tony onto explaining the triple threat of WestGateTunnel, EWLink, NELink.

What’s driving this massive road developments, despite poor BCR for EWLink? Tony Morton believes it’s government allowing unsolicited proposals and Transurban pushing their commercial interests. Why not choose good public transport solutions? Tony mentions poor, out dated traffic modelling. NELink pushes old economic ideas and poor outcomes for future Melbourne residents

North East Link Forum #2: Michelle Giovas: Michelle Giovas from Friends of Banyule and Warringah Conservation Society on NELink impacts upon local environment. Talks about how NELink will remove community assets, public transport, parklands, open space, Banyule wetlands with remnant vegetation. Michelle details huge NELink project impact, affecting six municipal council areas in greater Melbourne. Massive freeway widening along eastern, information not easily publicly available.

Eastern freeway widening for NELink includes new bridge at Merri Creek. New widening is an estimated TWENTY LANES WIDE. She mentions NELink has poor legend on it’s map, actual project area footprint doesn’t include Simpson Barracks, maybe 450 hectares of disturbed land, including Yarra flats, numerous billabongs and local creek headwaters. **Eastern fwy widening is 18km long**

NELink design schematic is extremely confusing, intersections/crossings. Project management believe local creeks where replanting has occurred and wildlife now live are ‘degraded’. Possibly to be replaced with barrel drains. Many endangered and special species live in NELink project area, including fish, grasses, micro bats, birds. Many noticeable older habitat trees, culturally significant areas, Bolin Bolin billabong, songlines tree estimated to be 600 years old

NWLink impacts we can’t see: vehicle emissions, vibration, vegetation removal. Michelle mentions huge West Gate Tunnel tree removal, these were originally planted by the community. Michelle finishes on NELink community impacts, school’s, sport fields, golf course, open space.

North East Link Forum #3: Samantha Dunn & John Stone: John Stone from Melbourne Uni, how communities come together to not allow their cities to be overwhelmed by cars, like NELink. He mentions how Transurban moved quickly after 2014 election to hijack Victorian transport agenda. EES/CIS processes around megaprojects are now designed to confuse the public, simply isn’t worlds best practice. Similar traffic modelling taken to court in QLD/NSW. Only reason for traffic modelling is to distort reality, it’s for bankers and rent seekers, megaprojects like NELink, EWLink, WestGateTunnel aren’t developed as solutions to anything other than financial gain. John talks about lessons learnt from campaigns against EWLink and F19, building strong engaged communities who want a better Melbourne. John concludes: do we want $20-30 BILLION spent on megaprojects or do we want this money spent on hospitals, school’s and public transport.

North East Link Forum #4: Samantha Dunn and Audience Q&A: public questions, speakers + local councillors from Manningham Council, applause when resident mentions she been waiting for Doncaster Rail for over 20 years. Tony Morton explains tired and predictably bureaucratic arguments against Doncaster Rail. Mentions positive example in Western Australia where govt built new line despite criticism. Topics also include air pollution, congestion pricing, psychological health, infrastructure planning and urgent need to have many different perspectives taken into consideration when projects are planned.

North East Link Forum #5: The Greens Transport Plan: Samantha Dunn discusses The Greens’ plan for the North East, build upon DART, advocate for Doncaster Rail, keep existing rail reservation, look at tram extensions and new high quality rapid bus network and routes for Melbourne.

A letter from resident groups of the inner west

Say NO to West Gate Tunnel - rally for a sustainable Melbourne at Brooklyn, December 2017

Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne at Brooklyn, December 2017

Originally published in The Westsider: A letter from resident groups of the inner west – The inner west does not need or want the West Gate Tunnel project  (May 2018)

It’s been widely claimed by the government and the press that the west supports the West Gate Tunnel Project. This is not accurate. A small section of one suburb, and one action group support it and even they have serious reservations about it. The rest do not. Community members of the Community Liaison Group made clear to Western Distributor Authority in December 2017 that considerable unresolved issues remained in the project. The City of Melbourne is opposed to the project and the City of Hobsons Bay has flipped flopped over the issues in the face of staunch opposition from its residents. Academics have published a highly critical report and significant professional planning groups have written to government with their concerns about governance and design.

But still the government has continued to proceed and get signed agreements with TransUrban, pushed through gazetting of planning scheme amendments and commenced construction in the knowledge that the community do not support it and the Legislative Council has the numbers to revoke approvals and halt work. The government has used paid advertisements from big companies and the website and press releases of one community organisation to justify it in the Parliament. This is brinkmanship, not good governance.

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Urgent: North East Link feedback by 5pm Monday 18 September

Stop me, oh, stop me.  Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before

Stop me, oh, stop me. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before

Following up from last weeks update concerning North East Link, if you have a spare ten minutes you can make it count *right now* – we have until 5pm Monday 18 September! See below for ideas, links & where to send your feedback.

Read more: Zombie Project hidden in North East Link Option A?

Please contact us (info@ycat.org.au) if you know of any upcoming local events, tips, corrections, contributions and please share this with fellow residents and local groups.

1. North East Link: What we know – There are four proposed routes:




Of immediate concern to Melbourne’s inner north residents is the proposed Option A: the shortest, most direct and, almost certainly, the cheapest – connecting to the Eastern Freeway.


  • Up to ten years of construction along the Eastern Freeway,
  • More congestion, pollution and noise for the inner suburbs,
  • Possibility of the Eastern Freeway being tolled,
  • More traffic into the Eastern Freeway – is this building the case, by stealth, for yet another version of the East West Link, to potentially connect with proposed West Gate Tunnel?
  • Proposed Option A route is through environmentally sensitive areas (one of Melbourne “green wedges’) and will severely impact upon numerous homes, businesses and heritage areas in Bulleen, Bellevue, Balwyn North, Kew East.
  • Possible removal of the Doncaster Rail reserve along Eastern Fwy and future East Kew and Bulleen Station sites.

From Say NO to North East Link Option A​: There can be no tunnelled connection to the Eastern Freeway due to the steep grades (about 8%) that would be required to take a tunnel under the Eastern Freeway, then pop up and connect to it prior to Doncaster road. There can be no tunnel portal south of Bolin Bolin/Marcellin, as the flyover ramps would still have the same problem. All possible connections to the Eastern Freeway are above ground and involve property acquisitions in Bulleen/Balwyn North.

Additional information: Samantha Dunn​ – The North East Link Just Won’t Work

At $10-$23 billion, the North East Link will be Victoria’s most expensive road ever but:

  • Another new toll road just encourages more cars
  • This road will divide communities no matter which route
  • Traffic will be funnelled to a few on-ramps, creating congestion
  • Trucking companies will avoid the tolls and rat-run through our neighbourhoods.
  • Sensitive environmental areas and cultural sites will be damaged
  • Oversized trucks and dangerous goods will still use Rosanna Road as they will be banned from tunnels.

The Solution

  • Investing in a public transport system that works is the best way to get cars off the road and decrease congestion:
  • Our money is better spent on public transport improvements such as:
  • Duplicating the Hurstbridge line
  • Better, quicker signalling on Hurstbridge and Mernda lines
  • More frequent and better connected bus services
  • Public transport won’t carve up the Green Wedge or Banyule Flats

2. Make your North East Link feedback by 5pm, 18 September 2017

Note: email address required to register



More contact information: http://northeastlink.vic.gov.au/about/contact

3. Have another five minutes? Please email your North East Link feedback & concerns to the following:

Yarra City Council​: please mention Yarra Councils strong advocacy for Doncaster Rail during their Trains Not Toll Roads campaign against East West Link (2013-2015)  Email: info@yarracity.vic.gov.au, crs@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Member for Melbourne: Ellen Sandell, Ph: 9328 4637, Email: ellen.sandell@parliament.vic.gov.au

Member for Richmond: Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, Ph: 9415 8901, Email: Richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Jenny Mikakos Ph: 9462 3966, Email: jenny.mikakos@parliament.vic.gov.au

Greg Barber Ph: 9348 2622, Email: greg.barber@parliament.vic.gov.au

Fiona Patten Ph: 9386 4400, Email: fiona.patten@parliament.vic.gov.au

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