There are many things that you can do to make your voice heard. Writing emails is a very effective way to get your message across and you can find a list of email addresses for politicians, councillors and bureaucrats.
Here are some other resources to help you write your email or letter:
Reasons to reject the tunnel
- by a resident on the east side
- by a resident on the west side
- from Trains Not Toll Roads
- by The Protectors of Public Lands Victoria
- Letters written by other residents are here
- Letters to the editor of The Age are here
Politicians – Vic Govt
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Premier;
- email@example.com – Deputy Premier;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Minister for Roads;
- email@example.com – Minister for Local Govt;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Planning Minister;
- email@example.com – Major Projects;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Leader;
- email@example.com – Local Govt;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Parliamentary Secretary for Roads & Public Transport;
- lily.d’email@example.com – Suburbs;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Shadow Minister for Roads;
- email@example.com – Deputy Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council;
- email@example.com – Planning & Infrastructure;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Deputy Leader;
- email@example.com – Scrutiny of Government/ Shadow Attorney General
- Brian.Tee@parliament.vic.gov.au – Planning & Infrastructure;
- Richard.Wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au Member for Richmond (Labor);
- firstname.lastname@example.org Member for Melbourne (Labor)
- email@example.com Federal member for Melbourne (Greens);
Members of the State Legislative Council (Upper House) for Melbourne:
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Greens)
- email@example.com (Labor)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Labor)
- email@example.com (Liberal)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liberal)
More contact details for State politicians can be found here:
- Jackie.Fristacky@yarracity.vic.gov.au – mayor (Independent);
- Amanda.Stone@yarracity.vic.gov.au (Greens);
- Geoff.Barbour@yarracity.vic.gov.au (Labor);
- Stephen.Jolly@yarracity.vic.gov.au (Socialist Party)
Melbourne City Council
- email@example.com – Lord Mayor Robert Doyle (Liberal)
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley
- email@example.com (Greens)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Greens)
Linking Melbourne Authority
- email@example.com – CEO
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Planning Director;
- email@example.com – Property Manager;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Chief Operating Officer;
- email@example.com – Stakeholder Engagement Manager – East West Link;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Communications Manager;
- email@example.com – Property Consultant;
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Senior Planning Engineer
- email@example.com – Air Quality
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Community & Stakeholder Advisor
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REASONS TO REJECT THE TUNNEL
by a resident in Alexandra Parade East
The direct extent of both the social and economic impact on us and other affected residents of the area, and surrounding and associated areas;
The health impact on us and other residents of the Yarra, Moonee Valley, Melbourne City Council and other related communities;
The severe depreciating property values of residents like ourselves not slated for acquisition on Alexandra Pde East, Clifton Hill and those on the Western side of Bendigo Street.
The debilitating psychological impact on my wife and I, now facing the reality of barriers and walls of ramps no more than 20 meters away from our windows. Quite possibly we may not be able open windows because of noise and smog pollution that will eventuate;
Deprivation of natural light, structural damage to homes, impact on community spaces and parks;
Removal of choice from us to sell our house to the Government/LMA or for that matter removed us from the capacity to sell it on the open market at any reasonable price;
Permanent eye sore and blight on the landscape;
The flawed democracy of Linking Melbourne Authorities Impact Survey – a predetermined outcome of a survey that sought Not to engage a broad view and opinion(s) of all parties concerned, but engineered to reflect a certain outcome -‐ censoring the full extent of devastation created by the Premier’s policy backflip to enhance his re-‐election prospects;
Loss of view of the city along with the quaint/friendly village feel, both determining factors in us moving into Clifton Hill;
Lack of due diligence applied or proactive consultation with us and other residents when the LMA was in the preplanning stageMore depressing has been the so called Impact Statement Survey being conducted by the State Government and its proxy lobby group the LMA. My wife and I have had the ‘rare and limited’ experience of having this very contrived Survey done reactively by the LMA contracted supplier
GHD (their website notes that GHD is an international network of engineers, architects and environmental scientists serving clients in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation). Quite honestly this meeting at our home only served to prove the flawed democracy of Linking Melbourne Authorities Impact Survey – a predetermined outcome of a survey that has sought Not to engage a broad view and opinion(s) of all parties concerned. Quite the opposite, it has been engineered by the State Government/LMA to reflect a certain outcome -‐ censoring the full extent of devastation created by the Premier’s policy backflip to push its propaganda and ultimately enhance his re-‐election prospects.
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by a resident in Parkville
Locks Melbourne into a carbon intensive future.
A project like this just further adds to Melbourne as a ‘car’ city. In five years, when we decide that we really have to start reducing our emissions, we will be locked into contracts and a geographical distribution of people and businesses that simply prevent some of the needed changes.
Locks out other infrastructure projects – like rail.
The money spent on this project can’t be spent elsewhere.
Makes a Doncaster rail line unlikely, because it would steal traffic.
If East West Link goes ahead then the Doncaster Rail project is less likely, because there will be reduced demand, reduced land reservations etc and possibly contractual blockages.
Threatens AAA rating
It is likely that one way or another the tender will include lots of ‘risk shifting’. Even if the public doesn’t fully evaluate them the rating agencies certainly will.
Takes away park land.
We all know what Royal Park is, and why it is important to protect parks.
The impacts on Ross Straw Field and Elliot Avenue are different, but both significant.
At some point the Government is sure to play an ‘offset’ card, ie ‘Look at the open space we are developing over there, we are actually increasing the amount of park in Melbourne’.
Direct impact on Skinks and other threatened flora and fauna.
People will lose houses and businesses.
Every person has a story. As a society we have rules that allow people to be moved for the greater good. But we also have the principle that it must be for a greater good – not just someone else’s profit or political convenience. Even the threat of displacement is enormously stressful.
Residents will lose amenity during construction.
Noise, pollution, sports facilities, quiet walks, access to their house due to road closures, truck movements in surrounding streets.
Residents will lose permanent amenity
Noise, pollution, sports facilities, quiet walks, views, beauty.
- People from all around Melbourne will lose amenity
Local residents have specific issues, but loss of parkland and sports fields impacts everyone.
Increased traffic burden on Flemington/Racecourse road intersection.
Entrenches Elliot Avenue’s intrusion into Royal Park forever.
Royal Park is bisected, and compromised by Elliot Avenue. We all know this and it has been a reality for a long time.
Part of some of the original discussion about the link was to remove pressure on Elliot Avenue, ie give drivers an alternative way to ‘cut across’. However the inclusion of entry/exit tunnels on Elliot Avenue means that there will never be an option to remove it from the park or downgrade its role. Not in 20 years, not 40 years from now.
Brutalist impact of interchanges
As a piece of urban design the Reference Design is shameful – in particular the Ross Straw field part. To impose this massive, loud, aggressive built form into an existing park and residential landscape is beyond a joke. The best symbol of this is the residential apartment block in Manningham Street; the one that currently enjoys a location overlooking swans and ducks and bucolic views but is going to end up looking like the a scene from a dystopic comic book – surrounded on all sides by elevated traffic lanes.
Impact on Moonee Ponds Creek.
The plan to run another elevated carriageway to the west of the existing sections along Boundary Road will overshadow, pollute and disrupt the one remaining section of our used and abused and only slightly rehabilitated Moonee Ponds Creek.
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REASONS TO REJECT THE TUNNEL
from Trains Not Toll Roads
A Doncaster rail would remove some 800 vehicles per peak hour train from the road servicing 80,000 + passengers a day.
800 vehicles is equivalent to a single traffic lane spanning 3.7 kilometres – that’s a lot of traffic off our roads!
Doncaster Rail Link could be built at a fraction of the cost of the $8 billion East West Road Link. This will allow other critical public transport projects to be funded at the same time.
Doncaster Rail Link is better for the environment – Peak oil is a significant consideration – why build more roads that promote more car usage when there is a cleaner, faster, safer and more sustainable rail transport option?
There has been an 18% increase in public transport use since 2005. People want to use public transport.
Doncaster Rail Link is significantly more reliable as it would operate on an exclusive right of way (rail track) that is not subject to variable and unpredictable traffic congestion.
When “whole of life” costs are taken into account, it’s cheaper to use public transport than use cars (no expensive petrol, road tolls, parking, registration fees etc).
East West Road Link will cost $6 to $8 billion but only be used by around 13 to 20% of vehicles wanting to travel from east to west. This figure is based on the 2008 Eddington Report.
East West Road Link is likely to increase traffic on already congested inner Melbourne exits and roads such as Hoddle Street and Chandler Highway.
80% of all vehicles will still exit to inner Melbourne areas (increasing congestion on Hoddle Street and other inner north-south roads) for access to jobs and services.
East West Road Link is likely to attract significantly more freight from the Port of Hastings to the west. That’s a lot of big trucks (with noise and pollution) and induced traffic travelling through the eastern suburbs to the west.
To fund the cost of the expensive East West Road Link, many much-needed public transport projects may be delayed or cancelled for years as no budget allocations will be available.
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REASONS TO REJECT THE TUNNEL
by the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria
No Funds for Key Public Transport Rail Projects:
The East West Link may cost $10 billion plus and so suck Treasury dry of funds for long-demanded rail projects, namely Doncaster,Tullamarine, Rowville and extension of the South Morang Rail line. Also Melbourne Metro Rail.
Blowout in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Increased Car Use Encouraged:
The proposed project involves construction of 4 lane tollway concrete road tunnels and aerial roadways or cut and cover-roadways for 18 km., which will blow out Victoria’s green house emissions. Provision of new roads will encourage increased vehicle usage, whereas in other States rail lines are being extended for commuters and for freight transport.
East West Link = Truck Not Commuter Route:
The road tunnels are first and foremost a city by-pass for trucks and therefore do not serve commuters. The EW Link is reportedly going underground at Hoddle Street and, with one turnoff/on at Elliott Avenue to Flemington Road, emerges in Royal Park, travels through the Ross Straw Field and joins CityLink in or over the Royal Park wetlands. As most traffic off the Eastern Freeway is headed south or north – including for the city – not east-west, the road tunnels do not serve the majority of commuters off the Eastern Freeway.
Congestion Will Remain:
The current congestion and gridlock experienced in parts of the city will worsen as city commuters avoid the road tollway and turn off at Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, and filter through the inner city or continue on existing roads above ground. Congestion on CityLink is predicted at junction with EW Link over the Royal Park wetlands.
Destruction of Melbourne’s Major Park – Royal Park:
The EW Link will cut a swathe through Royal Park and in the process of tunnel or roadway construction over four to five years it will be transformed into giant quarry sites and its bushland (used for passive recreation), sports fields, community facilities, wetlands and water storage tanks ripped up by the EW Link construction.
Destruction of Wetlands and Water Storage Facilities:
The Royal Park Wetlands which supplies water for Melbourne’s parks and street trees plus the Royal Park Golf course will be completely destroyed, including the vast water storage tanks under the Ross Straw field.
Loss of sports fields and club rooms:
The sports fields in west and east Royal Park plus Princes Park which serve thousands of people – school children as well as adults – from across Melbourne will be requisitioned for construction for the tollway and probably never restored. This is at a time the population is growing rapidly and sports facilities are already in short supply. This will have a negative impact on people’s health.
Loss of the State Netball and Hockey Centre plus Urban Camp for Children:
The 4 lane EW Link will come within metres of the SNHC and will wipe out the Urban Camp. As Brens Drive is in its pathway access will be closed off during construction which will take 4 to 5 years. It is doubtful if the SNHC can survive despite assurances from Linking Melbourne Authority that access won’t be blocked.
Compulsory Acquisition of Homes and Loss of Residential Amenity:
Whole neighbourhoods will be severely affected by construction of road tunnels and elevated roadways on the route. We know that properties will be subject to compulsory acquisitions in Collingwood, Nth Melbourne, Clifton Hill, Kensington, West Parkville and Ascot Vale, plus the threat to residential amenity.
Threat to the Melbourne Zoo and the Royal Children’s Hospital:
These institutions are threatened not only during 4 to 5 years of construction with vibration and noise but from long term pollution from vent stacks. It is not known where they will be located and whether the EW Link will be open cut through Royal Park. The Elliott Avenue turn off/on to/from Flemington Road is only a short distance from the Royal Children’s Hospital and Melbourne Zoo.
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EXAMPLES OF LETTERS AND EMAILS
WRITTEN BY RESIDENTS
I am a resident of the City of Melbourne, living opposite Royal Park on Manningham Street (just up from the wetlands).
Please do not support the proposed road tunnel and please vote against any steps to cooperate in planning steps – such as drilling in Royal Park.
I am opposed to the further development of Melbourne’s road system, given the climate change implications, but more particularly I believe that Royal Park is a special institution worthy of protection. As guardian’s we all have a responsibility to preserve this heritage.
Nothing in the proposed drilling or testing is to the ultimate benefit of the park.
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
I am writing to draw your attention to the proposed East West Link road project in Victoria and to urge you to avoid committing federal funding to it.
I believe that this proposal is seriously flawed and that there are far more important infrastructure improvements needed in Victoria.
The proposed East West Link is going to commit Melbourne to a more carbon intensive future and not going to add to the liveability of our city, a quality we proudly value. The immense investment required is going to drain our ability to implement more urgent infrastructure improvements, in particular to our rail system.
This main driver for this project seems to be the need to fill the ‘pipeline’ for private investors, not the best interests of the general community.
I urge you to scrutinise carefully any requests for funding or other federal support
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
City of Melbourne
GPO Box 1603
Melbourne VIC 3001
Dear Lord Mayor,
We are writing to you as a family who live in Manningham Street Parkville, who will be directly impacted by the East West Link and its interchange with Citylink. We would like to explain to you the effect it will have on us, so that you can take this into consideration when deciding your position on it and in guiding the actions and attitudes of the council towards the project.
We purchased our home about six years ago. The house overlooks Ross Straw field and this location was one of the primary reasons we fell in love with the property; we saw a chance for our girls to grow up with this ‘front yard’ that offers endless opportunity for adventure.
The house we bought had great charm, but was decidedly ‘faded’. The advice we received from builders and our architect was to pull it down and start again but we decided to renovate instead, rationalising that we were ‘here for life’. We have a freeway running 100 metres or so behind us but this was offset by the playground across from us, Trin Warren Tam-Boore two hundred metres down the road and the sports fields, bike paths, skink sanctuary and other charms of the park.
Current plans show the East West Link overpasses crossing Manningham Street three houses down from us, and much of Ross Straw field consumed by the tunnel entrances and associated roads. It is hard to imagine the impacts being any larger.
The design of the proposed interchange is completely out of scale with the residential community that it will encircle. The direct impacts to us will be enormous:
Loss of access to the park during construction.
Noise and pollution during construction.
Dealing with truck movements during construction
Long term loss of the park.
Long term noise and pollution from both road and mooted exhaust stack.
Worsening of the traffic load on Elliot Avenue/Flemington Road intersection – already a formidable barrier for pedestrians and cyclists
We feel that the design simply sacrifices parkland and this residential community with no commensurate benefits.
We are happy to discuss these impacts in person, or to provide any additional information you may require. We don’t pretend to speak for anyone but ourselves, but we know that our neighbours around us are similarly affected.
We urge you to use your position and power to oppose the proposed design and to ensure a better outcome for this community.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF THE AGE
Call on tolls visionary
Jason Dowling’s call for tolls is likely to be contentious but his vision is sound (Comment, 14/10). Every time I return home to Melbourne I am saddened by how this great city is being strangled by the boa constrictor of traffic congestion seven days a week. Yet seemingly every day there is a story about yet another major public transport disruption, significantly delaying commuters. Commuters who have decided to leave their car at home find their journey isn’t fast, smooth and calm but slow, stressful and chaotic.
Melbourne desperately needs big-picture thinking.
Former premier Jeff Kennett recently said if the government took on debt now to build a metro system no one would care about the cost in 100 years; they’d just be thankful it was done. Just visit world cities like Paris, London and New York to see how underground train networks built decades ago are the backbone to how most people travel there every day.
It’s time governments stopped treating public transport passengers as second-class citizens. But when the cost of tolls is still cheaper than a daily myki fare, what hope do we have?
Andrew Heslop, Sydney, NSW
I, too, have returned home from a visit to Europe (Letters, 12/10). But it was ”an unpleasant step back in time” to find, while sipping a coffee in one of our many celebrated outdoor cafes, thundering trucks and bellowing car fumes spoiling my pleasure. Unlike in Europe, it is hard to find a relaxing place in the most liveable city in which to enjoy a car-free environment.
Ulrike Lackner, St Kilda
Getting the PR right
Victoria’s biggest infrastructure project, the public-to-private moolah siphon – otherwise known as the east-west link – is well ahead of schedule, with crews of suits and spivs working round the clock. Sagging electoral support remains a challenge but, says project manager Denis Napthine, “we’ll pump in PR until it comes right”.
Andrew Raivars, Fitzroy North
Tell us the real reason
The link’s case is based on a public that needs to travel quickly, and is therefore willing to pay tolls. But this ignores the traffic jams that occur daily outbound on the Eastern Freeway. Anyone travelling on Burke Road at 5.30pm will regularly see almost stationary traffic as far as the eye can see towards Doncaster in one direction and snaking back to the city in the other. With higher traffic volumes brought about by the link, this congestion can only worsen significantly, negating any so-called cost advantage of ”travelling quickly”. The real reason for the link is to provide an alternative route for heavy freight from the docks to Dandenong and to justify further tollway expansion through the Banyule parklands. The public will be the real losers, financially and from a loss of green space.
TIM DAVIS, Ivanhoe
Locals turned out in their hundreds last weekend for guided tours of western Royal Park. In a state of shock, we saw what the link will do to our park, its sporting fields and wetlands. Numerous three-lane ramps would spew out north and south from dizzying heights over Moonee Ponds Creek and residents of Flemington and Kensington, with homes, parks and businesses in a swath of suburbs destroyed. Nobody left this tour with any doubt about the monstrosity of this undemocratic project.
PAMELA LLOYD, West Brunswick
It has been decades since I have seen such contempt for Victorians as shown by this government. I follow with incredulity Dr Napthine’s determination to proceed with the link and his increasingly bizarre attempts to justify it.
With no credible business case and the certainty of major, even catastrophic, disruption to the spectrum of life along the route, Dr Napthine’s intention to sign contracts just before the election about puts the tin lid on it. But also of concern is the refusal of Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to state publicly that he would cancel all contracts if Labor wins the next election. If Labor’s intention is clearly stated, then there is no concern about sovereign risk. However, the unique circumstances are so serious that stopping the link trumps any sovereign risk consideration.
TOM KEEBLE, Doncaster
This is madness supported by deceit. The deceit is embodied in the report justifying the link (”Secret case for link revealed”, 2/10).
The deceit was continued by the government justifying keeping us in the dark with ”commercial in confidence” language. Will the tendering process now collapse because all the people with a stake in the process now know what rubbish is in the report?
And the madness is embodied in the government’s single-minded pursuit of a project that runs counter to the transport strategies of most, if not all, cities around the world in which they are desperately trying to find ways of making their cities less car dependent.
HOWARD TANKEY, Box Hill North
Well done to The Age for continuing to pursue the state government over the secrecy of its business case for the east-west link (”Secret case for link revealed”, 2/10 and other articles). As a former transport modeller who was based in Melbourne, I am dismayed to see Brisbane-based Veitch Lister used for such an important assessment of infrastructure. The assumptions used are pie in the sky. Did the company run a scenario where people aren’t willing to pay more tolls, parking costs increase and fuel prices continue their upward spiral? Maybe the company should be employed to run the business cases for the infrastructure projects that Melbourne actually needs – the Melbourne metro, Rowville rail, Doncaster rail and the airport rail. Imagine the benefits the company could find.
Juan Ricardo, Fiji
Where’s big picture?
Silly me. I thought transport planners would look at all the possible projects and prioritise them on the basis of the number of people and businesses that would benefit and how well the projects fit with an overall strategy for Melbourne’s development. I wonder if recent disclosures help explain why there is no plan for a train to Monash University or Doncaster or a tram to Knox. There are no nice expensive tunnels to be dug by big developers. The ghost of Tommy Bent – once minister for building railways that benefited land he was waiting to flog off – must be laughing.
Lyn Firminger, Burwood
No mandate for link
The east-west link will cost about $8 billion. Victoria’s population is about 5 million. So the outlay will be about $1600 per person or, for a family of five, about $8000. How will this massive outlay benefit the families who live along the choked-up railway lines stretching to the city’s west, south-east and north-west and whose members have to commute to work or study? The state government has no mandate to commit Victorians to the folly of the link. In fact, the Coalition won the state election by promising to build rail lines. In 2010, it said of the line to Doncaster that: ”we’ll study it, then plan it and build it”. Until we have an election, the Coalition has no mandate.
John Anderson, Warrandyte
So little information
One of our reasons for starting a petition on change.org about the east-west link’s impacts on the zoo is the alarming lack of information from Linking Melbourne Authority about the scope, progress and preliminary findings of the impact assessment studies (”Fears of east-west link impact on zoo animals”, 4/10). The authority’s ”trust us” comment that there will be ”no direct or significant impacts on the zoo” simply demonstrates its contempt for the assessment process, zoo members and the public. We are asking for rigorous investigation, and yes, we do actually want to see it for ourselves.
Petra Stock, Carlton North
Pushing a line
Further to your report that the RACV president has been accused of playing favourites in the election campaign (4/10), the board incumbents also play favourites in pushing roads over public transport – as demonstrated by its ”Demand Better Roads” campaign. The board has consistently favoured spending on roads despite members’ preference for investment in public transport to ease road congestion.
Angela Smith, Clifton Hill
A white elephant?
The Victorian government claims that the yet to be released cost/benefit for the $6 billion to $8 billion east-west link shows it is ”viable”. What is more relevant is that this project must clearly show the yield is higher than the yield for other transport projects including the metro rail tunnel, Doncaster rail line, Rowville rail line and airport rail line. Victorians must not be burdened with another folly like the desalination plant.
Geoff Gowers, St Kilda
The landscape design of Royal Park, dating from the 1984 master plan (by Brian Stafford and Ron Jones), showed amazing foresight and is highly acclaimed for its aesthetic significance. Readers have bemoaned the loss of ”one of Melbourne’s great landscape features” and an environmental asset (Letters, 28/8) and remarked that it would result in an ”environmental and social tragedy” (29/8).
If the east-west link is allowed to destroy Royal Park, it would also be a cultural tragedy. It would be refreshing to see the government lead the way in protecting significant creative achievement in this state, as opposed to destroying it forever.
Christina Dyson, Brunswick West
We accept the science
The Napthine government assumes that, as we become more wealthy, we will want to use cars more. This is a very dubious assumption on many grounds, but Premier Denis Napthine seems unaware that just last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, making it clearer than ever we must cut our use of fossil fuels.
Even if his government wants to keep its head in the sand, most of us actually do accept the science and want to reduce our greenhouse emissions. For this reason alone we want better public transport options, not more ways to sit in the inevitable traffic jams resulting from encouraging ever more cars on to our roads. The Doncaster and Metro rail projects would not only greatly reduce carbon emissions, particularly when eventually powered by renewable electricity, but also provide much more appealing ways to travel.
Keith Burrows, Fairfield
Details of the financial assumptions for the east-west link are so unrealistic that they are either based on the conditions of another planet or are deliberate fabrications to support a boondoggle channelling of billions of dollars to vested interests (”Secret case for link revealed”, 2/10).
Is petrol going to cost less in the future when oil companies already have to resort to last-ditch efforts to keep it flowing, such as the costly and dangerous mining of Canadian tar sands and high Arctic and deep ocean drilling? And there will be additional price increases from the likely imposition of further carbon prices and restrictions on private transport as our planet gets warmer from all the burned fuel.
Will city parking become any less expensive as more people and their cars are packed into more and taller buildings in a fixed land area? Will this boondoggle benefit any of us except vested interests when similar projects in Sydney and Brisbane have had to declare failure?
William Hall, Riddells Creek
Cut road demand
Noel Whitehead, a rail line to Doncaster would help someone get from the east to Ballarat or Geelong (Letters, 22/9). Increasing the capacity and reach of the public transport system would reduce demand on the road network, including on Alexandra Parade and Elliott Avenue.
He also complains about the time it takes to travel to the airport. A train line to the airport would be the most efficient way to relieve pressure on CityLink. In its draft master plan, Melbourne Airport forecasts that within two decades air traffic movements may reach the volumes at London’s Heathrow. Car traffic will therefore increase substantially. Yet the Napthine government can think no further than feeding more traffic on to CityLink to the airport and other northern destinations via the link.
IAN HUNDLEY, North Balwyn
Premier not listening
CityLink was supposed to have solved congestion a decade ago. Before that, the extension of the Eastern Freeway to Donvale was supposed to reduce congestion in the eastern suburbs. We’ve had long enough to pronounce a verdict on the evidence. That new roads increase congestion, rather than relieving it, is contrary to naive intuition but has been the consensus of evidence-based transport planners for decades. Unfortunately our Premier is not listening.
TONY MORTON, president, Public Transport Users Association
Rat-running on rise
Supporters believe the link will solve rat-running in the inner north. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since the tollway to the airport was completed there has been a big increase in traffic in Brunswick and Coburg as motorists seek to avoid the toll. The same thing will happen in the inner northern suburbs with the tolled tunnel.
ELISABETH JACKSON, Brunswick
What about rest of us?
What about the tens of thousands of people who struggle to get to work on public transport each day, or those who daily sit for hours on Bulleen Road, waiting for the link between the eastern and western freeways to be built, or the residents of Mernda and Doreen who need Yan Yean Road to be upgraded to save hours of commuting each day? We should not spend all the next decade’s infrastructure budget on getting traffic off local streets in Carlton and Fitzroy North.
MATTHEW GILBERT, Hampton Park
You’ve been warned
The Libs were elected because of their support for rail. Dr Napthine has now done a complete turnaround but refuses to justify it. What happened to Sophie Mirabella in the federal seat of Indi could easily be repeated in state seats. Labor now needs to put builders on notice that they should include an opt-out clause in their contract.
PETER REYNOLDS, Flemington
Royal Park will never be a haven again
Once it is gone, it is gone. Royal Park provides a haven to the north of the city. Over many years, thanks to some amazing foresight, the trees and grasses have been replanted, with smaller gardens providing space for contemplation, and many more birds have returned. What were once barren paddocks in the 1980s have become well-trodden paths for people cycling into the city, dog walkers, joggers and children and their families at the Royal Children’s Hospital seeking solace. All this is about to change: the park will be cut in half by eight lanes of high-speed traffic spewing from the tunnel. And once the roads are there, the parkland can never be a green lung again.
Sue Casey, Brunswick
We need business case
I agree with Robert Brain (Letters, 19/9): we need to improve the quality of life for all when providing transport options for our communities.
Unfortunately, the east-west link takes that choice away from almost all Victorians. We aren’t allowed to know how the project’s cost-benefit-ratio went from 0.5 in 2008 to 1.4 this year because the government will not release a transparent business case.
Furthermore, traffic figures on existing roads along the proposed link pathway show volumes were static or mostly declined between 2002 and 2011. The fact is the public does not have an informed analysis of how the project will benefit all Victorians. It will suck up all funding for other major infrastructure works such as rail to the airport, Rowville, Doncaster, Melton, regional links, and signalling upgrades which would provide more equitable, sustainable and cheaper travel options for all.
It’s especially short-sighted when you consider other penalties Victorians will suffer: loss of valuable parkland (including Royal Park and its remnant grasslands), destruction of Moonee Ponds Creek, health impacts due to a decline in air quality, and destruction of heritage streetscapes.
James Milne, Parkville
Rough ride ahead
The Liberal and National parties are at risk of losing Victoria’s AAA credit rating; their determination to waste exorbitant amounts of money on the east-west link isn’t helping. The parties believe they are the only ones that can manage a state budget and that this gives them the right to spend our money as they wish. It is easy to go into debt if somebody else has to pay it. Some $8 billion is a massive amount to build something that will go down in history as Napthine’s folly. Melburnians need to accept that their public transport will not be upgraded in the next decade and that they can look forward to long traffic delays, road rage, increased expense for car wear and tear and extraordinary bouts of nervous tension if the link goes ahead.
Charles Naughton, Princes Hill
State shows contempt for residents
The contempt in which the Napthine government holds Victorians knows no bounds. Dr Napthine, if you are so convinced this carbon-intensive, money-eating link is a beneficial ”game-changer”, then show us the evidence now and take it to the election. The distress and frustration you are causing to the community is appalling, and the steamrollering timeline you are pushing indicates your desperation to inflict this mess on us regardless of the lack of evidence. It is shameful behaviour.
Christine Di Muccio, Parkville
Our next white elephant
Supporters of the link should take note of the history of Brisbane’s Clem 7 tunnel. It has just been sold for $618 million, a fraction of the $3 billion it cost to build. As with other failed public-private projects such as Sydney’s Cross City and Lane Cove tunnels, the Brisbane tunnel failed to attract anywhere near the number of motorists forecast – despite the slashing of tolls to entice motorists to use it. In all likelihood, the east-west link will be another white elephant with disastrous consequences for Victorian taxpayers. We should demand full disclosure of the deal. The bullyboy methods of those in Spring Street must not go unchallenged.
Steve Eckardt, Diamond Creek
Road to ruin
A Queensland toll road that cost $3 billion and failed financially has been sold for $618 million (”Turning $3b into $618m”, BusinessDay, 27/9). Did the government that built it tell the public it was going to be a ”game changer” too?
Judith Loriente, Mentone
Jobs won’t magically move across town
Richard Cook (Comment, 23/9) subscribes to an abiding fantasy about Melbourne traffic. That by building a big road from Clifton Hill to Flemington, we can convince all the eastern suburbs residents who drive to work in the CBD to go and work in Moonee Ponds instead. The fact is that most of the Eastern Freeway traffic is heading into the CBD or the inner north.
There is ample evidence here in Melbourne that motorways – especially tolled ones – don’t remove traffic from arterial roads. CityLink did not remove traffic from Toorak Road. EastLink did not remove traffic from Stud Road. All they did was generate traffic of their own to add to Melbourne’s congestion. They have also diverted funds and attention from public transport alternatives that might have some hope of tackling the problem. Furthermore, Mr Cook is mistaking the growth in local car travel for an imagined explosion in long-distance traffic using local streets.
Tony Morton, president, Public Transport Users Association
Want to swap houses?
At least for the people who live in the side streets of Fitzroy North and Carlton the traffic dissipates, Richard Cook. My family owns a home on the western side of Bendigo Street, Collingwood, and has lived there for 21 years. Our home is not being compulsorily acquired. The ”flyover” you refer to will be built 13metres from our front door and facing on to it. How many years of construction to come? Two, three, four? Then we will have to live with a permanent eyesore and attendant increased pollution, noise and loss of light 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. What about our house price being diminished? What do my family and others in our situation receive from the government? Nothing. Want to swap houses, Richard?
Thracy Vinga, Collingwood
We will all be victims
Richard Cook gives the game away when he goes from saying the inner suburbs are ”great places to live” to noting that house prices are diminished by the many inner-north rat-runs – which a tolled tunnel won’t stop anyway. I don’t wish a toll road on the people, or property investors, of Carlton and Fitzroy. But the victims of the link include all Victorians. Those who miss out on the useful projects that could be built instead – such as several of the rail projects, including Rowville and Doncaster. Those who have to keep paying to run several cars per family because governments only ever build new freeways. And those affected by car accidents, air pollution and climate change.
It’s sad to see someone defending his sense of entitlement to his gentrified suburb. The rest of Melbourne is not so well off, and a new toll road isn’t going to help the rest of us one iota. It will stimulate congestion everywhere. On the other hand, new rail lines would help get cars off the rat-runs through the inner north, as well as elsewhere.
Ben Courtice, Maddingley
Public picks up the tab
Why is the government tying up $8 billion of our money for the next decade to the exclusion of other infrastructure projects? Why build a traffic-inducing freeway, likely to increase congestion and pollution levels, when the city is crying out for improved public transport? Most importantly, why, if the business case for the taxpayer doesn’t stack up, is the government pursuing this project with such tenacity? Is this perhaps because, as commentator Kenneth Davidson regularly points out, the contract, which we’re not permitted to see, is so favourable to the private partners viz superannuation funds and merchant banks, that they’ll turn a profit either way, no matter what the traffic flows?
So the government takes all the risk and the private sector partners reap all the profits. In any event, the public picks up the tab. We deserve answers.
DENNIS O’CONNELL, Ivanhoe
Who’s pulling strings?
It is very mysterious that the Liberal Party went to the last election on a public transport platform, promising to build the metro rail tunnel and new rail lines to Doncaster, Rowville and Tullamarine Airport, yet have now done a complete turnaround. It has scrapped all these plans and will impose an east-west tunnel on Victorians who will be paying for it forever.
Who is in the background telling the government what to do?
If the Liberal Party had been honest and campaigned on the east-west tunnel only, would it have been elected? Do the Liberals want to be thrown out at the next election? It seems so.
CHARLES NAUGHTON, Princes Hill
It is a dysfunctional form of ”planning” if the east-west link is a government priority at a time when the suburbs are crying out for basic infrastructure. Melbourne’s population is expanding explosively, urged on by growth lobbies with vested interests in property development and their resulting corporate profits, but these beneficiaries do not pay for vital infrastructure.
City building is an expensive activity, and growth always requires heavy resources and energy. Cheap and abundant fossil fuels were the necessary pre-condition for the past century’s population growth. Energy consumption is exerting demands on energy resources at a time when they are getting scarcer and harder to extract. We will be relying on foreign supply chains for liquid fuel in a few years as our own supplies are dwindling.
It is time to question whether our economy’s ingrained ”growth” model is appropriate for today’s world of increasing scarcities, declines, massive costs and its drag on productivity. Growth should be only one stage of city planning, not a perpetual event that causes the disrupting, polluting and costly need for tunnels, freeways and roads.
MARGIT ALM, Eltham
Should taxpayers pay more than $8 billion on an east-west link to ease congestion caused by weekend rat-runners (Comment, 23/9)? The majority of weekday commuters head to the city, so the link won’t solve that problem. The groundswell of opposition to the link is about adverse effects on communities from Moonee Valley to Collingwood. Sporting and park amenities will be diminished, heritage streetscapes destroyed and homes and businesses will suffer structural damage. Noise and light pollution, increased truck traffic and health risks from concentrated particulate emissions from inadequate ventilation stacks will destroy the lifestyle that made these communities so attractive.
Sydney and Brisbane have shown us that such projects are not financially viable. Why won’t the government show us the traffic projections or explain how the business case was arrived at if it is such a worthy project?
Harriet Mantell, Collingwood
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