Thursday, July 3, 2008

Email from Kensington Association

As you can see, many of our fears have been confirmed by two key ministers of the Victorian Government. You need to get involved, and get as many of your friends/relatives/workmates involved as you can...

Kensington Association executive members invited to meet Ministers

On 25 June our local member Bronwyn Pike invited executive members Richard Reilly (Chair), David Ettershank (Secretary) and Tony Dare (Treasurer) to a meeting at Parliament House to discuss the Eddington Report and the potential impact of its recommendations.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Roads, Tim Pallas who is probably the Minister most responsible for the carriage of the Eddington recommendations.

The discussion extended for over an hour and a half and followed extensive public criticism of Bronwyn for her decision to not publicly comment on the adverse impacts of the Eddington proposals.

This email is to provide members and friends of the Kensington Association with a summary of the discussions at the meeting and is consistent with Bronwyn's request that the meeting be reported back to members.

Bronwyn made a number of points to the Association representatives including that:

* She is aware of the concern within the community.

* She regretted having been unable to attend the 21 June rally, and had included comments about her position in her apology (which is posted on the Association website at )

* She was working assiduously with her Government colleagues to alert them to possible impacts of such a proposal on Kensington and other parts of her constituency.

* It was not possible or practicable for her, as a Government Minister, to rule out any specific aspects of the Eddington proposals, (although people would be able to read her own submission when it was lodged). Rather, she believed that she was best able to serve her constituents by working 'from within', rather than by excluding herself from the process by prematurely condemning the proposal.

Tim Pallas advised that

* The Government retains an open mind on the Eddington Report and that in fact "things have moved on" in many areas (such as petrol prices and public transport utilisation) since the Report was commissioned.

* That Bronwyn has expressed her concerns strongly within government but that for her to do so publicly would be a breach of Cabinet solidarity and reduce her capacity for advocacy.

* That after submissions on the Report close (15 July) an Issues Paper will be produced for public discussion and representatives of business and the community will be invited to a "roundtable" meeting to discuss the paper in August.

* Concurrently, the Government is commissioning a number of wider studies to assist in an overall traffic and transport plan for Melbourne (however these will not be subject to release to the public).

* That he personally believed the current dependence on the Westgate Bridge is unsustainable and that an alternate road route had to be developed.

* That it was not possible to construct major infrastructure without impacts, and that some had to be tolerated for the wider good. However, he also indicated that if the tollway did extend through JJ Holland Park, the Government would be vigilant to minimise any negative impact.

* That the private sector "had no appetite" for investment in public transport and that this would have to be done by Government. The private sector would invest in roads and would have a strong influence over road alignment and access.

* That the Government would decide its position on implementation by the end of the year.

So what does this all mean?

At the end of the meeting we formed a number of views about the meeting and the way forward:

* Our fears about

The use of JJ Holland Park as a 'staging point' and construction site.

A possible permanent 'open cut' through the Park.

An interchange at Kensington-Dynon Road allowing traffic into Kensington.

An elevated truck link across Newell Wetlands.

Vent stacks and related environmental degradation.

are entirely well founded.

* Formal public consultation will end on July 15th. After that there is only the "roundtable discussion" in August and we will not see a preferred government proposal (including route) until December.

* Once Government announces its preferred position there will be an extended period while they line up constructors, financiers and the like. This is the first opportunity the community will have to enter the debate in the context of a concrete proposal and no consultation with the community is proposed.

This could be long battle so we need to be prepared.

Actions to take

Please get your submissions in to by 15 July.

Also, to your local Member of State Parliament:

And to your local Member of Federal Parliament:

If you wish to respond to this email, feel free to contact us at or better still, attend our regular general meetings of members on the first Monday of every month, 7.30 pm at the Holy Rosary Primary School in Gower Street. (Next meeting July 7)

Report by

David Ettershank, Secretary and

Richard Reilly Chairperson

Kensington Association

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