Yarra Council gives East West Link protesters Australia Day award

Herald Sun: Yarra Council gives East West Link protesters Australia Day award. Michelle Ainsworth (January 26, 2015)

An inner-city council that spent more than $500,000 fighting the East West Link has given an Australia Day citizenship award to the protesters who campaigned against the dumped toll road.

Yarra Council awarded the protesters a citizenship award at its Australia Day ceremony.

The Yarra Community Service of the Year award was made out to “everyone who campaigned against the East West Link”.

The council decided to include “everyone” in the award to make it inclusive of all activists.

It included those involved with the Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport, Yarra Climate Action Network, Friday Peaceful Protests, Public Transport Not Traffic, Tunnel Picket and Residents Against The Tunnel.

Yarra Council led the fight against the toll road until it was dumped by Premier Daniel Andrews.

The Herald Sun last year reported the council spent more than $100,000 on the Trains Not Toll Roads campaign.

The spending included $71,616 on TNTR merchandise, including thousands of button badges, flyers and signs.

Ratepayers money was also spent on audio equipment used at many of the protests.

An extra $30,000 was included in the council’s 2014-15 budget for the campaign.

The campaign costs came on top of $405,000 the council paid for legal representation at the Government’s 30-day East West assessment committee hearings.