The Fake Consultation Begins

The Linking Melbourne Authority has begun its fake consultation.

As we were warned at the meeting, the project proponent has opened a forum where the “conversations” are all about aspects of the decision to build a road tunnel, but not the decision itself.

At the trains not toll roads launch,  Dr Sophie Starup, who’s studies  transport mega-projects warned that:

  • To question a sovereign decision is to question the right of the sovereign to make the decision.
  • Sovereign Decisions once take are not subject to question – especially not by rational debate
  • The sovereign will only chnage a decision if the right to do so is established by a higher power – you the voters.

The “Conversations” are controlled by the Authority.  You can’t add your own conversation – like questioning whether the road should be built instead of a train line.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder has made the extraordinary claim that the project is “shovel ready”. So what’s this consultation about?

If you do wish to comment, don’t accept the frame of the conversation  set out by the authority.

For example, submitter John Handley’s  post  quotes the Mayor of Bogota, Enrique Peñalosa who completed his three-year term as Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia on December 31, 2000. While mayor, Peñalosa was responsible for numerous radical improvements to the city and its citizens. He promoted a city model giving priority to children and public spaces and restricting private car use, building hundreds of kilometres of sidewalks, bicycle paths, pedestrian streets, greenways, and parks:

“Urban transport is a political and not a technical issue. The technical aspects are very simple. The difficult decisions relate to who is going to benefit from the models adopted.”

“The importance of pedestrian public spaces cannot be measured, but most other important things in life cannot be measured either: Friendship, beauty, love and loyalty are examples. Parks and other pedestrian places are essential to a city’s happiness.”

“The world’s environmental sustainability and quality of life depends to a large extent on what is done during the next few years in the Third World’s 22 mega-cities. There is still time to think different… there could be cities with as much public space for children as for cars, with a backbone of pedestrian streets, sidewalks and parks, supported by public transport.”

“Why is all the power of the State applied in opening the way for a road, while it is not done for a park such as the Long Island Sound greenway? Despite the fact that more people may benefit from the greenway than the highway?”

Peñalosa is correct – the question that is not being asked is: “Who really benefits from this project, and who really loses. In the case of the East-West Road link it is the people of Melbourne who are losing more and more open parkland in the service of the almighty motor vehicle. Who gains? Well, the road builders – they make their profit and run. They have no meaningful social connection to the project, and no responsibility for the damage it does.