Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fixing the road ahead

TRANSPORT is the new health. The transport portfolio has become the hottest potato on the state cabinet table. Angry train commuters kept waiting on stations have replaced frustrated hospital patients kept waiting on trolleys as the staple nightly news item that serves as a reminder all in Victoria is not working as well as it should.

It is no coincidence that the highest profile shadow cabinet minister is the Liberal Opposition's transport spokesman, Terry Mulder, whereas in the final years of the Kennett government it was the Labor opposition's health spokesman, John Thwaites. Mulder is, and Thwaites was, a talented and conscientious politician, but they've had plenty of material with which to embarrass the government of the day.

It is also no coincidence that the transport portfolio, traditionally the task of one minister, is now split between two. Peter Batchelor struggled with the task for the first seven years of this Government. Then Steve Bracks gave the public transport component to senior minister Lynne Kosky and roads and ports to his trusted former chief of staff Tim Pallas. They've struggled too.

It is no surprise that the latest Age/Nielsen poll shows a big majority of voters giving the Bracks/Brumby Government the thumbs down on public transport. The poll, taken this month and published this week, found 61 per cent of those surveyed were dissatisfied (including 27 per cent "very" dissatisfied) and only 27 per cent satisfied (including just 2 per cent "very" satisfied).

Even among Labor voters, fully 54 per cent declared themselves dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their Government's performance on public transport.

Nor has it escaped the attention of either side of politics that transport woes can be even more politically damaging for an incumbent government than health woes, for the simple reason that most voters will see the inside of a busy hospital rarely, whereas most will take their chances on the congested roads and/or trains daily.

If this is a political crisis, it's been a long time coming. When The Age published a series in 2005 on public transport called "Off the rails", Bracks was stung. Cabinet was on to the problem, he insisted. Indeed, a cabinet sub-committee had been working for months on a transport and liveability policy statement, which would cater for the city's population boom and deal with not just public transport but roads and ports.

That statement was duly delivered in May 2006, under the title "Meeting our transport challenges". In the glossy documentation, Bracks talked about "our vision of a world-class transport network". Here was an "action blueprint" for "an ongoing program of transport projects over the next 25 years". "Victoria's transport system is in good shape," he declared. "But as our population grows and our lifestyles and work patterns change, we must make sure that our transport system keeps up with our travel needs."

Clearly, the Bracks statement failed on this score. That's not the verdict only from the clogged streets and railway carriages of Melbourne, it's also implicitly acknowledged around the cabinet table at Treasury Place. So, 2½ years later, Bracks' successor, John Brumby, is about to do it all again.

And guess what? Brumby wants you to know cabinet is on to the problem. Indeed, a cabinet sub-committee has been working for months on a transport and liveability policy statement designed to cater for the city's population boom and deal with not just public transport but roads and ports. (Incidentally, Brumby has been a key member of both cabinet sub-committees.)

The Brumby statement will be delivered within days. You can be sure it, too, will be accompanied by glossy documentation and sweeping rhetoric. Brumby is already talking about a "transformational" plan that will hasten the evolution of what is basically still a suburban transport system into a modern, metro-style network. Expect to hear that your Government is planning not just for the short term but for future generations.

The starting point for the Brumby plan is Sir Rod Eddington's report, commissioned by Bracks in 2006 and delivered to Brumby in April this year. Eddington, who has a gift for diplomatic language, is more forgiving of the performance of our state politicians on transport than many commuters might be.

"Victoria has been well served over a 15-year period," he told a business audience in Melbourne on Tuesday. "When you compare our infrastructure with the infrastructure of many cities in the world, we're in good shape." But he added this warning: "We will only enjoy the title of 'the world's most liveable city' if we continue to make smart investments in infrastructure."

That was the message in his report, too. "Doing nothing is not an option," Eddington wrote. "A failure to take action will undermine Melbourne's future prosperity and reduce the benefits being generated by the city's growth and development."

There's no chance of Brumby doing nothing. Indeed, he is expected to commit to most — although not all — of Eddington's major recommendations. Expect Brumby to promise a rail line from Werribee to Sunshine — the so-called Tarneit link. Expect him to commit to a 17-kilometre "Melbourne metro" rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield via the CBD and St Kilda Road (but watch for a long time lag). Expect at least the western bit of Eddington's proposed east-west road tunnel to get the go-ahead, pending business cases, environmental studies and funding deals with the private sector and/or Canberra. And expect lots of new bus routes and bike paths across the suburbs and into town.

It will indeed be a big plan — bigger than Bracks' — for a big city. But the big trouble for Labor is that an obvious and potentially effective political response is available to the Opposition. It can embrace whichever parts of the plan win community support, while making the point that it would have been good if Labor had got around to it much earlier. In other words, the Opposition will be able to say to voters: if you like Brumby's transport plan, it doesn't matter whether you vote for us or Labor, because both sides will implement it; but if you want to punish anyone for allowing Melbourne's transport system to become so clogged, the decade-old Government should be your target.

The politics of transport are about to become still more intense.

Paul Austin is state political editor.

Read the original article in

Urban sprawl may grow with new outer ring road

Jason Dowling and Clay Lucas
November 27, 2008
A map of the proposed ring road.

A map of the proposed ring road.

MELBOURNE might continue to sprawl to the west, with a potential shift of the city's urban growth boundary revealed in plans for a new ring road.

The outer metropolitan ring road, which will also include a rail link, will run in an arc from Avalon Airport to the Hume Highway.

The road is set to be included in the State Government's transport plan, due out within days.

The route will be decided within 18 months.

As part of the plan, VicRoads documents show that the Government will consider shifting Melbourne's urban growth boundary — set in 2002 as part of its Melbourne 2030 strategy.

Under that plan, no development was to occur to the west beyond Werribee, though the boundary has been shifted twice since 2002.

A VicRoads statement said the new road was situated beyond the current urban growth boundary and was not dependent on the boundary being altered.

"However, planning for the corridor will consider the potential for further urban expansion," it said.

G21, a group representing local councils, including the City of Greater Geelong, and more than 150 community and business organisations, has backed the new road.

The group's members have met VicRoads to discuss the project.

Planning for the outer ring road will be finalised in 2010. Simultaneously, the Government is developing a new integrated transport and planning laws.

The RACV has backed the new outer Melbourne transport corridor, and expects to see it in next month's transport plan.

"We see the transport corridor from Werribee to Craigieburn as a key part of the longer-term transport plan for Melbourne," spokesman Brian Negus said. "With an expanding population in Melbourne, outer western and outer northern transport corridors need to be part of the plan so the land can be secured."

A VicRoads spokeswoman yesterday confirmed that planning for the outer metropolitan transport corridor was under way.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said his party had given in-principle support for road reservations such as the outer ring road.

But he said including the ring road reservation in the Government's coming transport plan had "the stench of political opportunism".

"John Brumby wants to boost the number of pages and promises within his latest transport plan — the fifth since this Government was elected," Mr Mulder said.

Support for the new transport corridor comes as Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said conversations behind the scenes with the Federal Government and Infrastructure Australia had given her confidence that Canberra would provide money for the state's transport plan.

She said the plan would include the cost of the projects, but would not be drawn on the prospect that less federal money might be delivered than expected.


Read the original article at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Myki running late again - TheAge

THE controversial myki smartcard has slipped behind schedule again, with the first public outing of the $1.4 billion smartcard next month to be reduced to a launch among selected "customers" only.

The first public test of the ticket system, which is three years late and $350 million over budget, was due to begin in Geelong on December 8.

But that launch date has slipped again, with the first public release now restricted to a small group of selected travellers, who each will be given a smartcard.

The cards will be used on 24 Geelong buses, on the McHarry's and Benders lines.

A Transport Ticketing Authority spokesman confirmed use of the myki ticket in Geelong would be restricted to selected customers, and that the public would not be able to buy a card.

"A small number of … customers will be given myki cards to use for their everyday travel on selected Bellarine Peninsula routes," spokesman Adrian Darwent said.

Myki is a smartcard that calculates the best fare for travellers and allows them to top up the card online.

The Transport Ticketing Authority has said only that myki would start being rolled out in Melbourne some time next year.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has also declined to name a launch date for Melbourne.

Read the original article at

Major project funding off COAG agenda - TheAge

WEEKS of agitating by the Victorian Government have failed to put debate over $40 billion pledged to major projects onto the agenda for a meeting of premiers with the Prime Minister later this week.

Kevin Rudd's office last night confirmed to The Age that the meeting would not discuss the funds despite weeks of pressure from Premier John Brumby and his Government.

The decision means Victoria will be forced to deliver its response to Sir Rod Eddington's $20 billion plan to redesign Melbourne's transport system with billions of dollars in federal funding in doubt. The Government is scheduled to release its plan by the end of the year.

Mr Brumby and Treasurer John Lenders have repeatedly called on their federal counterparts to back up their budget promise to deliver $40 billion for investment in health, education and transport, and have focused attention on Saturday's meeting as an important forum.

Relations between the state and the federal government have been icy since Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said earlier this month that only $26 billion of the promised $40 billion had so far been set aside and the global economic crisis meant he could not guarantee the rest.

Victoria wants at least $10 billion from the package, and Mr Lenders has said that if the money is not delivered it will limit the state's spending on transport projects.

But the state is at the mercy of the Federal Government, which sets the official agenda at the meeting.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the Building Australia Fund — the fund dedicated to major projects like roads and rail lines — will not be on the agenda. "This is not a COAG decision," he said. "It will be determined by the Commonwealth."

A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd, who is in charge of the agenda, endorsed the remarks.

In a speech to the National Press Club last week, Mr Brumby called the meeting on November 29 "a once-in-a-generation opportunity" and said that, among many other things, it must deliver "action from the Commonwealth to significantly lift its commitment to infrastructure"...

Read the entire article at

Fix public transport, Brumby urged

ALMOST two thirds of Victorians are unhappy with the State Government's handling of public transport, and an equal number say new public transport should be given priority over roads.

As the Brumby Government prepares to release its multibillion-dollar transport plan next month, Victorians have sent a clear message of frustration to the Government over its handling of public transport.

A special Age/Nielsen poll found 61 per cent of people are dissatisfied with the Brumby Government on public transport — and only 27 per cent are satisfied.

And the poll, of 1009 Victorians taken between November 10 and 14, found 62 per cent want the Government to give public transport priority over roads, compared with 24 per cent who want roads to have priority.

In Melbourne, support for public transport was even stronger, with 68 per cent wanting more funding directed to it instead of roads; just 19 per cent support roads as the priority.

Despite this, support was strong for a proposed $9 billion road tunnel linking the western suburbs to the Eastern Freeway.

Fifty per cent of people supported construction of the road tunnel, compared to 45 per cent who want a proposed $7 billion rail tunnel built from Footscray to Caulfield via the CBD.

Just under half of all Melburnians surveyed about the rail tunnel said they had "no opinion" on the proposal, indicating it has failed to capture the public's imagination.

The RACV said it was no surprise the public was demanding better public transport.

"Public transport services are overcrowded and inadequate, and improvements are required to both the frequency of services, (and to) improved new routes," spokesman Brian Negus said.

Congestion on the road system was also at a "critical level", he said. "This impacts on the freight system, (and) has obvious effects on the economy and the operation of trams and buses."

The Public Transport Users Association said people were angry about the state of the public transport system. "Everyone, whether they shoe-horn themselves onto packed trains, trams and buses every day or not, knows the Government has dropped the ball on public transport," president Daniel Bowen said...

Read the entire article at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Experts predict only half of east-west tunnel will be built -

ONLY half the east-west road tunnel proposed by the Eddington report will be built, a leading transport expert predicts.

Prof Nick Low, of Melbourne University's urban planning program, said the economic crisis would force the Government to drop the eastern half, which would have tunnelled under Carlton and Royal Park.

But he said a tunnel from the Tullamarine Freeway to the Western Ring Rd at Sunshine would still ease traffic problems.

The eastern half would be left for a future government.

Speaking at the Melbourne Conversations transport forum, Prof Low said the Government's plans were no secret.

"The Government has given a lot of parties (an idea of) where their thinking has been," he said.

"They think they have heard what the different lobbies want. It's not a secret. So I can put it all together."

Prof Low said the Government would also commit to:

BUILDING the railway line from Epping to South Morang.

EXTENDING electrified train services to Melton.

CONNECTING Greensborough to EastLink.

No commitment would be made to rail extensions to Doncaster or Rowville.

Prof Low said the "half" tunnel would transfer congestion from the West Gate into the heart of the city.

"Road building is only really justified by the aggregate of time savings in journeys," Prof Low said.

"With all the road building that has occurred over the last 20 years, one should expect to see some reduction in the time spent in travel, especially in Melbourne.

"Instead we see an increase. Not only that, we see an even bigger increase in distance travelled.

"So what building roads does, and this is true almost everywhere in the world, is it increases the distance people travel per year by car."

The State Government is expected to release its plan by early next month.

Read the original article at

Who WAS JJ Holland?

by Mark Perica.

John Joseph Holland was Old School Labor. A social justice Catholic and working class autodidact he was born in Carlton in 1877. He learned his political craft as a militant activist fitter and postal mechanic in the Postal Mechanics Union ,as a Trades Hall Council Delegate, and as president and secretary of the Flemington Branch of the ALP. He was also a left wing shock jock on the Labor Hour on 3KZ from 1931 until 1946

Jack entered parliament in 1925 as the MLA for the seat of Flemington. He was a Minister for Public Works for five days in 1943 until the United Australia Party Coalition brought down the first government of John Cain Senior. Taking into account the redistribution between 1945 to April 1955 [where his seat was renamed Footscray] Jack represented Flemington, Kensington, North Melbourne and Parkville for over thirty years

If Jack had stood for Labor preselection today his prospects would be doubtful because he seemed to have had a habit of advocating non market solutions. He headed a State Committee to investigate a shorter working week, he championed increases in unemployment insurance, pensions and child endowments. The other great passion of his working life was co-operatives and he served on the boards of a number of Flemington and Kensington Co-operatives including a thirty five year stint on the Victorian Public Servants Credit Co-operative.

Jack was about as Kensington as they come. He lived in McConnell Street for over fifty year and he died there on Christmas Day 1955. Befitting a long term Kensington bloke his Requiem Mass was held at Holy Rosary Church in Flemington. Following the service then Deputy Labor Leader Mr. Shepherd said of Jack: "the greatest tribute we could pay Jack Holland is to recall his long and honest service to the Labor Movement during the past 45 to 50 years".

Jack had five kids including a son Kevin who followed in his Dad's footsteps, serving the people of Flemington, Kensington and Ascot Vale with distinction. Kevin went to School at Holy Rosary and Saint Mary's CBC West Melbourne. Like his Father Kev had a distinguished career in service to the community in which he lived. He took the seat of Kensington over from his Dad and held it from 1956 until 1964. Kev also served on the Melbourne City Council for the Hopetoun Ward for twenty years from 1955 until 1975.

Kev showed great personal courage and commitment to the Party when as a devout Catholic he resisted denunciations from the pulpit and the privations of Bob Santamaria and his immoral gang during the Split. Jack Galbally and Kevin remained staunchly Labor during this torrid time

Ironically, on Kev's death in 1996 John Brumby said in Parliament;"Kevin's service to the Labor Party, The Parliament of Victoria and the Melbourne City Council will not be forgotten, nor his extraordinary commitment to the people of the Western Suburbs."

Between Jack and Kevin Holland they served as the State parliamentary representatives for the people of Flemington, Kensington and North Melbourne continuously from 1925 until 1964 a period of 39 years.

Now the Labor Party is thinking about destroying a park dedicated one of it great families - so much for their contribution "never being forgotten"!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Virtual lap of the KensingTAN

Hastily put together yesterday, in a brief window in the inclement conditions, this video was to be a 'virtual lap' of the KensingTAN, so people could 'run' around in front of the big screen. (GREAT idea Kate!)

A lap of the KensingTAN, Holland Park, Kensington VIC from baudman on Vimeo.

McMullin firms for lord mayor role, but is he a little bit stale?

A serial seat chaser or a passionate servant of the community? Meet the lawyer who may lead Melbourne.

NEXT Sunday Melbourne will have a new lord mayor. There's barely a political commentator in the state brave enough to predict the winner - the city's electoral system is too quirky and the preference flows too unpredictable. But yesterday the bookie's favourite was a man called Peter McMullin.

So, who is Peter McMullin and what sort of lord mayor would he make?

In the race to Town Hall, McMullin, 56, has stood out. He is the biggest spender, producing a letterbox-clogging tide of paper. He is the man the State Government wants to win, although it is not saying so publicly (the Labor Party has decided not to officially endorse a candidate). And the Labor lawyer, who once ran one of the state's biggest legal aid practices, has thrown more mud than anyone else (in two mail-outs, attacking The Greens and current councillor Catherine Ng, and recently targeting former Liberal leader Robert Doyle for not turning up to community forums).

McMullin has also secured two important endorsements, one from former premier Steve Bracks, who said he "couldn't think of a better person" to be the city's next mayor, and the other from Lord Mayor John So, who described McMullin as "someone I have always held in the highest regard".

The mediation lawyer would probably be vaguely remembered as deputy lord mayor in the late 1990s and for his run for lord mayor in 2001. He has a long record of community service and is deputy president of the state's business lobby group and Museums Victoria.

He certainly has his enemies - mostly within the Labor Party. Many members were upset by his choice of deputy, Liberal Party member Tim Wilson, most Melbourne local branch members preferring the more left-leaning Will Fowles, a fellow Labor candidate. The local members were overruled by ALP head office, which is run by McMullin's right faction, Labor Unity, the same faction as Premier John Brumby.

Perhaps the best indication of Lord Mayor Peter McMullin is his 2005-06 stint as the mayor of Geelong. Jim Cousins, the chairman of the Committee for Geelong, said McMullin did not get much of a chance to prove himself as mayor because it was a year-only term and the city's culture was very anti-change. "He's very politically, well, astute," said Cousins. "He knows how to get the best out of a particular position. Peter can do the job, but it comes down to the best person on the day."

His stint on the Melbourne council, however, gets less favourable reviews. Former City of Melbourne Labor councillor Kevin Chamberlin, who served with McMullin in the 1990s, said he was dubbed Marcel Marceau because "he never said anything" when meetings became heated. He will do whatever the State Government wants, Chamberlin predicts.

Rob Maclellan, who was the Kennett government's local government minister when McMullin was deputy lord mayor, told The Sunday Age he was "the darling of the Kennett government", always ready to follow the premier's line.

Maclellan said he believed Melbourne deserved better. "I don't think he would be a puppet of the State Government, I think he would be a puppet of his own ambitions."...

Read the whole article at

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trading in ConnectEast shares frozen as toll road fails to fire - TheAge

FAR fewer drivers are using EastLink than predicted, forcing operator ConnectEast to freeze trading in its shares while it raises money to cover its $1.9 billion debt.

Fewer than 150,000 trips a day are being made on the road.

When it offered shares in the toll road in 2004, ConnectEast predicted it would have 225,000 trips a day by this stage.

Industry analysts say the road must generate at least 156,000 trips a day to cover an interest bill of about $15 million a month. But despite the road's poorer-than-expected performance — CitiGroup last month described ConnectEast as "a looming default risk" — it is the third-busiest route in Victoria.

The Ringwood end of the road is carrying near the levels of traffic predicted. But to the south, near where the State Government wants to build the Frankston bypass, traffic drops off.

Premier John Brumby, who will release the Victorian transport plan next month, has signalled he will support building the $700 million Frankston freeway.

But the performance of EastLink will cast further doubt on the viability of a $9 billion tolled tunnel from Footscray to Clifton Hill, as proposed by Sir Rod Eddington. The credit squeeze has heightened dramatically since Sir Rod's $20 billion transport plan was released in April.

Road builders and operators are shying away from big projects, with ConnectEast and Transurban telling The Age this month they were not interested in major new projects. ConnectEast has requested that the Australian Securities Exchange freeze trade in its shares until Monday next week, while it raises as much as $450 million from investors.

Before the freeze, the shares were trading at 67 cents. When ConnectEast was floated in 2004, its shares were worth $1.

But the drop is minor in comparison to BrisConnections, the company that started building a $4.8 billion Brisbane toll road this month.

Investors paid $1 for shares in the seven-kilometre airport link in June, and must shell out another $2 in the next 18 months to keep them. The shares were worth just 0.1 cent yesterday.

Read the entire article at

Analysis of the Eddington Report Submissions

Kate Wilson, from The University of Melbourne, has conducted a detailed analysis of all 2149 submissions that were forwarded to the Department of Transport, in response to the East-West Link Need's Assessment, often called the 'Eddington Report'.

Take a look at it here (pdf). Below are a few key quotes.

4.9 Specific Issues
According to Eddington: “The EWLNA Study Team has also assessed the environmental impacts of all options considered by the study, as well as giving close attention to issues of community and neighbourhood amenity.”47 Kensington in particular feels like this has not been the case as JJ Holland Park is a proposed construction site for the east-west tunnel. The destruction of JJ Holland Park was the single biggest specific issue from the submission process. Submissions were received from children and their parents, sporting clubs using the park and community organisations. The Kensington Association is concerned with specific impacts the tunnel would have on JJ Holland Park and “strongly opposes to the use of JJ Holland Park as a staging point for any construction, or as an exit for the road tunnel proposed in Recommendation 4.”48 Many different groups and individuals use the park for passive and structured relaxation and leisure activities and if the use of the park goes ahead it will result in a backlash for the Brumby Government. Similarly, Royal Park in Parkville also mobilised mass community support for the park and was a big issue for a number of submissions....

And from the conclusion...

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the submissions is that there is widespread opposition to the tunnel. Almost 78 percent of submissions were opposed to the tunnel compared with almost 8 percent who were in favour of it. Individual submissions were overwhelmingly against the tunnel, with 93 percent of them opposing it. Opposition for the tunnel was based primarily on the need for public transport instead of more roads and the impact of the tunnel on climate change. Specific issues were the next biggest contender, in particular the use of JJ Holland Park in Kensington as a staging point for construction of the tunnel was met with widespread opposition.

$8.5b rail tunnel to rescue us from gridlock - HeraldSun

THE Brumby Government wants an $8.5 billion rail tunnel between Melbourne's west and southeast to get the city moving again.

The Herald Sun can reveal the 17km metro-style tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield will be the big ticket item in the Government's Innovative Transport Plan to be revealed early next month.

In its much-anticipated transport blueprint, the Government will also back construction of the Tarneit Link, a new rail line between West Werribee and Sunshine, costing $1.5 billion.

But the allocation of at least $5 billion in federal funding will determine when the rail tunnel can be built.

The Herald Sun believes the Brumby Government wants to start construction in about six years, in line with recommendations in international transport expert Sir Rod Eddington's East-West Needs Assessment report.

But concerns over whether Victoria will get its promised funding from the Rudd Government could delay the project for at least 10 years, causing chaos on our rail system...

Read the whole article at

Interesting that it's being reported that the rail tunnel, and not the road tunnel, is now the big ticket item.

Also interesting to note that Sir Rod Eddington is on the board of News Corporation, who publish this newspaper.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lobby group gets on Bandt-wagon

Bianca Hall

The Kensington Association - founded by ALP members - has for the first time publicly endorsed an Australian Greens Candidate, Adam Bandt, for Melbourne lord mayor.

The residents' association and lobby group has also endorsed current Melbourne councillor and independent, Catherine Ng.

Both candidates have been the subject of a concerted negative campaign run by Geelong councillor Peter McMullin, a member of premier John Brumby's dominant ALP right faction.

The group's endorsement of Mr Bandt is largely due to the Greens' long-running and successful campaign against Sir Rod Eddington's proposed east-west tunnel link, which would join the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road.

In his plan, Sir Rod identified JJ Holland Park as a likely staging post for the freeway, and residents have organised massive protests against the plan, in collaboration with the Greens.

In June, facing strong pressure from hundreds of protesters and residents, Melbourne Council voted to oppose the tunnel.

The association canvassed lord mayor candidates on a range of issues facing the community.

"In terms of reading the mood of the neighbourhood, the responses ranged from outstanding to abysmal', secretary David Ettershank said.

"The panel's lowest marks went to the Robert Doyle-led Activate Melbourne ticket. Robert Doyle has a proud history of service to the Victorian public, but his team's response was extremely poor in terms of local priorities," Mr Ettershank said.

Mr Doyle told TMT last week he was a strong supporter of the proposed tunnel, and if he elected he would also open Swantson Street to traffic 24 hours a day.

"(Swanston Street) is not just a mess, it's a failed experiment," Mr Doyle said.

"It was a far-left idea that we could turn it into a European boulevard."

And he said he would overturn the council's opposition to the east-west freeway.

"Are you there as a reflection of a large and vocal group, or are you there to make decisions that are best for all people?"

Transcribed from The Melbourne Times.

On that last quote, by 'large and vocal group' I assume he's meaning the transport lobby? ;)

Googled! Mayoral race turns to cyber warfare

Surprise: How a Google search for Cr Catherine Ng leads to her rival.

Surprise: How a Google search for Cr Catherine Ng leads to her rival.

LORD mayoral candidate Catherine Ng got a rude surprise late on Saturday when she typed her name into Google.

Instead of a link to her website, the first item to show up on her name search read like this: "Vote 1 Peter McMullin. The safe choice for Lord Mayor."

This was no isolated cyber incident. Google searches for other lord mayoral candidates — including Gary Singer, Adam Bandt, Gary Morgan and Robert Doyle — were all leading to the same place: the rival McMullin campaign and its website.

But at what cost? Cr Ng estimates Cr McMullin has been paying Google hundreds of dollars a day for his "sponsored link" to appear when other candidates are searched.

A legitimate use of technology? Or a questionable act of cyber warfare?

Cr Ng's initial reaction was to find it "really annoying". She resolved to fight back, buying a "sponsored link" of her own to appear on Google — but only when her name is typed in.

The cyber spat shows how far council electioneering has gone beyond the old ways of doorknocking, letter drops and posters. Big billboards, YouTube films and volunteers who leave messages on answer machines are among the new arsenal.

Former state Liberal leader Robert Doyle has a billboard on Racecourse Road, a website, a YouTube message and has done letterbox drops. But despite describing his campaign as "back to basics", he hasn't knocked on a single door.

Cr McMullin has been doorknocking with John So, the retiring Lord Mayor. Residents have also been receiving phone calls from members of the McMullin camp — all volunteers, according to campaign director Kimberley Kitching. She said the Google ads were aimed at busy voters. "We know that people are looking for campaign information more and more from the internet and Google ads is one way of doing that," she said.

The Greens' Mr Bandt has doorknocked, spoken at forums, attended council meetings and used websites such as Facebook.

Cr Singer has an ad on Google. But like Cr Ng's, his ad only appears when his name is typed.

Serious lord mayoral campaigns are said to cost at least $120,000, with just one mailout to the electorate costing about $70,000. Mr McMullin is said to be spending $650,000. Ms Kitching denied it was that high.

In Hobsons Bay, council candidate Kate Kennedy has a cheaper plan. Inspired by Barack Obama, she has adopted a web-based approach which she says will cost several hundred dollars. "We're still considering whether we can afford posters," she said.

Read the original article at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

market 3031

Market 3031 is an annual event, and a friend of Save Holland Park.

3031 is the postcode for the area of Kensington / Flemington located in Melbourne's inner west. Market3031 is an artist market that helps to profile and showcase local peoples work.

The first market was held in November 2007.

The next market will be Saturday 22 November 2008 at the Scout Hall, 55 McCracken St, Kensington, Victoria, 10am-4pm.

Get yourself along, before heading to Holland Park Alive!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kensington Residents go for Greens and NG

Media Release from Kensington Association.

A detailed survey of would-be Melbourne Lord Mayors and Councillors has seen the Kensington Residents Association give the highest marks to two very different tickets: the Greens and the C Melbourne Grow Team of Catherine Ng.

The survey of candidates sought views on a range of key local issues including the controversial Eddington Tunnel proposal, local community, services, traffic and transport and sustainability issues.

“The Assessment Panel was really impressed with the work done by candidates in responding to the survey and we express our thanks to them all” said Association Secretary David Ettershank.

“However in terms of reading the mood of the neighbourhood, the responses ranged from outstanding to abysmal.”

“The two really impressive responses were those of the Adam Bandt led Greens ticket and Catherine Ng’s C Melbourne Grow team. Both of these teams showed a level of detail and sophistication that genuinely impressed the judges.”

“The responses of the Will Fowles-led Fresh Vision Team and the Peter McMullin-led For Melbourne’s Future also rated strongly.”

The Panel’s lowest marks went to the Robert Doyle led Activate Melbourne ticket.

“Robert Doyle has a proud history of service to the Victorian public but his team’s response was extremely poor in terms of local priorities” said Mr Ettershank.

Candidates will have the opportunity to speak directly to the electors of Kensington with a candidates meeting at 7.30 PM on the 17th of November at the Holy Rosary Primary School, Gower St Kensington.

A summary of the panel’s assessment is attached and a full copy of the assessment along with scanned copies of the survey responses can be found on the Kensington Association website

For further comment contact David Ettershank, Secretary Kensington Association on 0418 519 892.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aspirant councillors get 90 seconds each -

Click here for the video as compiled by The Age.

Doyle tops poll as lord mayoral race turns dirty - TheAge

FORMER Liberal leader Robert Doyle and Greens lawyer Adam Bandt are the most popular choices to become Melbourne's next lord mayor, according to a Sunday Age readers' poll.

Violence in the city, traffic congestion and making Melbourne more environmentally sustainable were the biggest challenges facing the city, along with public transport, according to the poll of more than 1000 readers.

One in four said that if they could vote in the election, which is limited to residents and businesses in and around the CBD, they would vote for Mr Doyle, the mayoral election's highest-profile candidate. Another 20% nominated Mr Bandt. Current councillor Catherine Ng came third on 14%. The survey showed a strong gender distinction, with nearly a quarter of women choosing Mr Bandt and 34% of men keen on Mr Doyle.

The poll also found that people were only moderately interested in the mayoral race and that most readers believed John So to have been a good (33%) or fair (36%) mayor...

Read the whole article in my bold.

I've gotta say, I'm really disappointed in The Age with this semi-beat-up. They've polled people outside of the City of Melbourne electorate, which potentially has close to no relevance at all.

Twenty20 Cup Game - Wed 26th Nov

Come along Wednesday, 26th Nov for a Twenty20 match. North Melbourne v Geelong. Starts at 5pm. [Hmm... thinks about seeing if he can leave work a little early that night].

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School Fete

We had a stand, our banner and an activity at the fete today.

Good to see some of the local politicians, and prospective councillors got on board too.

Yay City of Melbourne

On this morning's dog walk duty, I spied this sign. It is a notice for the refurbishment that is going to happen on the Bill Vanina Pavillion, in the centre of JJ Holland Park and right smack bang in the middle of the identified tunnel route.

Good on the City of Melbourne for continuing on with their additions and refurbishments to the park, even before the State Government's release of their Transport Report(s).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stateline ABC - 14/11/08

Stateline ABC 14-11-08 from baudman on Vimeo.

My favourite comment from Tim 'the cars that ate' Pallas...

"... You can't talk public transport unless you talk about roads. 85% of all kilometres travelled on public transport journeys actually occur on roads..."

Hmm... could that perhaps be because Melbourne hasn't had a new suburban train line since the 1930s, and so buses are the only option? Or is he including trams in that as well?

Holland Park Alive!

It's only a week away. Sat Nov 22nd from 4pm.

Click here to download a poster (pdf).

Or just visit the website.

Kensington Association City of Melbourne Candidate Questionnaire and Public Meeting

Take a look at the responses from candidates for the City of Melbourne regarding a whole heap of Kensington issues, including most prominently, the future of JJ Holland Park.

They are also hosting a 'Meet the Candidates' public meeting. Rock up to the Holy Rosary School, Gower St Kensington, from 7:30pm on Monday November 17th to hear what the candidates have to say, and voice your opinions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monster trucks to use tunnels -

Ashley Gardiner

A MAP released by the State Government has detailed plans to run monster trucks through Melbourne's road tunnels.

The road freight network would form a key plank of the major transport blueprint, to be released within weeks.

In addition to Melbourne's freeways, the freight network on the map released yesterday included the Nepean Highway, Hoddle St and South Rd.

At the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Summit yesterday, Roads Minister Tim Pallas released a map that highlighted the roads that would be used.

Mr Pallas said the roads would be used by trucks capable of carrying two 12m containers, known as super B-doubles.

"We are looking at allowing super B-doubles to operate on what we are calling a principal freight network," he said.

"(The network is) a network of road and rail links connecting Melbourne's major industrial areas with the Port of Melbourne."

The map clearly indicates major arterial roads across the suburbs that would form the principal freight network.

But the Government last night sought to distance itself from the map. A spokeswoman for Mr Pallas said it was indicative only.

"Those lines (on the map) are indicative and no specific roads have been confirmed," Fiona Macrae said.

But Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the map was evidence of a sneaky expansion of truck routes without consulting local communities or councils.

"Behind everyone's back, Tim Pallas's maps are like a cancer, slowly spreading their tentacles into every nook and cranny of Melbourne," Mr Mulder said.

"The maps are an admission by John Brumby that Labor has failed to transfer freight to rail."

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group spokesman Elwyn Davies said bigger trucks would mean less incentive to invest in rail freight.

"More investment in public transport infrastructure would make the roads clearer," Mr Davies said.

Read the original article at and the map here.

Victoria records $3.8 billion deficit for September quarter

THE State Government has recorded a deficit of more than $3.8 billion for the September quarter, fuelled by the global economic crisis.

A quarterly financial report, tabled today in state parliament, reveals superannuation liabilities and investment losses hit the bottom line.

The loss came on the back of reductions in stamp duty, with the Government hurt by a cooling housing market and weakening income tax revenue.

Net debt skyrocketed by $638 million in the three months to September to $2.78 billion.
Read the original article at

Leaflet muddies lord mayoral race

Jason Dowling

THE battle for Melbourne's next lord mayor has turned nasty, with a Labor-aligned candidate launching an assault on the left-wing Greens in leaflets to be sent to thousands of homes and businesses.

In an attack reminiscent of state Labor's campaign for last year's Albert Park byelection, the leaflet from Labor Party member and lord mayoral candidate Peter McMullin starts with the message "No classes today, Greens Party have shut this school".

It goes on to say that it is the policy of the Greens to phase out selective government schools and asks: "Why does the Greens Party want to close MacRobertson Girls' High School & Melbourne High? And just why do people keep voting for the Greens with these type of policies?"

In the days leading up to the September 2007 Albert Park byelection, a letter authorised by the ALP's state secretary was sent to thousands of residents, criticising the Greens' policy of "phasing out selective schools". Greens' candidate Adam Bandt rejected the claim the party wanted to close schools.

He said the leaflets were a desperate smear.

"I think this shows that Labor is becoming increasingly desperate," he said.

"First they teamed up with the Liberals to run on a ticket, second they decided to preference the Liberals and now they're are delving into matters that are not even in the council's controls to try and run smear campaigns.

"This kind of negative campaigning has the hallmark of a desperate team."

Mr McMullin, who is in the same Labor Party right faction as Premier John Brumby, said the leaflet was justified.

"A lot of people within the City of Melbourne are making decisions about their education for their children and they need to know what the Greens' policies are," Mr McMullin said.

He said it was important that education was discussed, even though the council has no policy responsibility for it. Melbourne City Council had an "advocacy role" in the area.

Mr McMullin said the Greens were happy to talk about State Government transport issues.

Mr McMullin, who is a Labor Party member, said the leaflet was organised by his campaign and was not linked to the party's state headquarters.

Ballot papers for the election are being sent out and must be returned by November 28.

Read the original article at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Travelling second-class -

Paul Mees

LAST week, it was the Oaks day train debacle; this week, it's the chaos surrounding the new timetables. Melbourne's rail system has once again failed the city, leaving hapless travellers stranded on trains and at stations. Melburnians could be forgiven for wondering if the city's rails are cursed. If European cities, and even Perth, can have first-rate trains, why can't we?


By the 1920s, the system had been electrified and expanded. More trains left Flinders Street Station in peak hour than do today, with a service every three minutes on the Sandringham line. Reliability was high and cancellations rare. Europeans envied Melbourne for the excellence of our rail system. So why can't we transport people reliably to and from the races now?

The Department of Transport says the reason is that we don't have enough tracks, even though we have many more than in the 1920s. Sir Rod Eddington agrees, and has proposed a multibillion-dollar tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield that will take decades to build and has a price tag we can't afford. But the Eddington tunnel would not have prevented the stuff-ups on Oaks day; nor it will fix the problems created by running the Epping and Hurstbridge lines the wrong way through the city loop.

The main cause of Melbourne's rail woes is a tremendous deterioration in management and planning. Levels of efficiency that could be achieved in the 1920s, or even in the 19th century, are now claimed to be impossible in the 21st century. Things are so tangled that the public doesn't even know who to blame for the collapse of service: is it Connex, or the private company that maintains tracks and signals, or Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, or one of the many divisions of the Department of Transport?


The "franchising" system is a shambles and a farce, and nothing will change as long as it persists. No successful urban rail system in the world operates on the model we use in Melbourne: even Margaret Thatcher baulked at applying it to London.

We have ample evidence of the kind of management structures that produce well-run public transport: lean, dynamic, accountable regional authorities that are publicly owned but kept at arm's length from the ministerial spin cycle.

An excellent example is the Zurich Transport Network, which controls all public transport in the state (canton) of Zurich. The ZVV, which many observers regard as the best transit agency in the world, administers a public transport network as big as Melbourne's with 34 staff (the equivalent organisation in Melbourne employs more than 10 times that), of whom only six are responsible for timetables and service planning.

The Zurich staff and their jobs are set out, in German and English, on the authority's website ( Everyone knows where the buck stops in Zurich's public transport system.

A century ago, it was Melbourne, not Zurich that was the world leader in urban rail provision. We could become so again, but only if our public transport system is run for the benefit of its passengers, rather than its operators and administrators.

Dr Paul Mees is senior lecturer in transport planning at RMIT.

Read the whole article at

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tunnel project might not see the light of day


THE toll tunnel centrepiece of Sir Rod Eddington's $20 billion vision for better links across Melbourne is in trouble, with road builders and operators shying away from big projects.

ConnectEast, which operates the EastLink tollway, yesterday confirmed it had its hands full making its new Ringwood-to-Frankston tollway a success.

EastLink traffic volumes and revenue are well below forecasts, with shareholders believed to be unenthusiastic about ambitious new ventures. Chairman Tony Shepherd made this clear at the annual meeting last week and said again yesterday: "ConnectEast is a single-purpose entity, and at this point we are solely focused on establishing EastLink's operational systems and on growing our traffic levels. We have no plans to invest in another road."

Transurban, which runs CityLink, has slashed job numbers in Melbourne and mapped out a debt-averse future. Under new chief executive Chris Lynch, the once active road builder will consider only "sure things".

While Transurban has not ruled out a bid for an east-west toll road, insiders told The Age the company had no intention of pursuing new Melbourne projects in the near future.

The credit squeeze has tightened dramatically since Sir Rod's report earlier this year in which he recommended a tollway beginning in Clifton Hill and ending in Footscray.

Read the original article at

Certainly what we like to see in the paper, but hey... I'm not relaxing until there's a fat lady singing. I would also hope that the State Government would listen to other reasons why the tunnel should not go ahead, so that if they can get funding, where that money would be better spent.

Canberra raps Brumby over funding - The Age

Katharine Murphy, Canberra, and Marc Moncrief

PREMIER John Brumby and Treasurer John Lenders have received a swift rebuke for their lobbying over Canberra's dwindling infrastructure dollars, with the federal minister declaring their comments irrelevant.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has dismissed as a "speculative bid" recent suggestions from Victoria that the state is expecting $10 billion worth of federal funds for transport upgrades.

"Public comments by state and territory leaders will have absolutely no impact on the outcome," Mr Albanese told The Age in an interview yesterday.


Mr Albanese's warning to Victoria follows a three-day meeting in Sydney this week where federal policy advisers and a team of economic consultants, lead by Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington, have been working to finalise the national priority list. Sources involved in the process say several governments have been asked to supply officials with better quality information about their wish-lists, and revise some of their proposals.

Infrastructure Australia will meet again early next week. Mr Albanese is yet to be briefed on the emerging priorities.

Sir Rod was "taking additional responsibility", Mr Albanese said, for driving the accelerated timetable set by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"We maintain our commitment to investing in the productive side of the economy," he said. "We will monitor these issues but we maintain our strong commitment to our infrastructure program."

Read the whole article at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Melbourne transport blueprint in doubt -

Marc Moncrief, Paul Austin and Katharine Murphy

PLANS for a dramatic redesign of Melbourne's transport system may have to be scaled back as Canberra threatens to take off the table billions of dollars promised for major projects.

A day after saying the global financial crisis had blown a "$40 billion hole" in his budget over four years, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday said at least $14billion earmarked for major projects was under threat.

Victoria is relying on a share of the money to build massive congestion-busting projects such as those recommended in Sir Rod Eddington's $20billion Melbourne transport blueprint.

State Treasurer John Lenders said yesterday Victoria was expecting at least $10billion in spending announced in May's federal budget. He said that if the money was not forthcoming, it would undermine the transport plan, expected to be released within weeks.

"If the Commonwealth does not put money into the state of Victoria, clearly the transport plan will be a smaller plan than it otherwise would be," he said.

Sir Rod's plan, released in April, includes a $9billion toll road linking the western suburbs to the Eastern Freeway and a $7billion rail tunnel from Caulfield to Footscray...

Read the whole article in

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Absence makes for a distant memory for Peter McMullin

HOW soon they forget. Melbourne mayoral hopeful Peter McMullin has glossed over his Geelong and Barwon Heads connections in his election material.

Cr McMullin, as he is technically known until the end of this month, is considered a favourite to take the City of Melbourne top job.

But while he has referred in his election flyer to his former post as deputy lord mayor of Melbourne, he has not mentioned that he is also a former mayor of Geelong.

Cr McMullin has made a point of mentioning he is a resident Melbourne although he was quoted telling another newspaper early last month he had moved to Melbourne from Barwon Heads about two months ago.

"Like you, I'm a local resident," Cr McMullin told the voters of the City of Melbourne in his flyer.

"I also work in the city (as a senior consultant at a national law firm) and understand the importance of encouraging a strong local economy."

A spokesman for Cr McMullin said yesterday the former Geelong mayor had indeed moved to Melbourne but he still had a love of Barwon Heads.

"Cr McMullin is very proud of his role at the City of Greater Geelong," the spokesman said.

"Depending on how much space we have available on material dictates the amount of Cr McMullin's previous roles and interests that we are able to communicate to the voters."

The spokesman pointed to Cr McMullin's website, which he said had more space to tell the full story.

However a scan of found the following reference to his council experience.

"As a former Melbourne councillor and deputy lord mayor, Peter knows how council works and understands the changes that need to be made to make it work better for all who live, work and visit Melbourne," the website says.

Read the original article at

In addition to him only recently moving to Melbourne, many Barwon Heads residents were less than impressed with his stance on the issues raised in

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Labor state dominoes set to fall

LABOR is terminal in NSW and on the skids in Victoria as the national political pendulum swings back to the Coalition in the states and territories.

The party would be massacred in NSW if an election were held now, and would struggle to retain power in Victoria, according to the latest Newspolls, conducted exclusively for The Australian during September and last month.

While NSW Premier Nathan Rees would not have expected a major bounce just two months into his term of office, Victorian Premier John Brumby will be shaken by the result.

The Victorian Government has traditionally been state Labor's beach-head, as it has avoided the kind of lurid scandal that has struck some of its interstate counterparts, and the state's economy has remained sound...

Read the whole article at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get up early to ride free? Forget it - TheAge

Clay Lucas
Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

THE Early Bird ticket, hailed by Premier John Brumby as a solution to overcrowding on morning trains, is failing dismally to attract commuters.

The ticket was aimed to tempt commuters out of bed earlier, offering free travel for trips finishing before 7am.

It was launched by Mr Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky in March, after a six-month trial on the Frankston and Sydenham lines.

"I'm very confident it will be very well received," Mr Brumby said then.

But the Department of Transport's annual report — one of more than 200 annual reports released by the Government last Thursday — shows just 2700 travellers a day using the ticket on Melbourne's 15 train lines.

And of those, 700 already caught pre-7am trains before the March launch.

The scheme, costed by Mr Brumby in March at "between $5 million and $10 million" has blown out to $12 million in two years. This includes reimbursing Connex for lost ticket revenue.

Before trials began, the Government said 600 passengers a day needed to use the ticket on the Frankston line for it to be considered a success.

Only 232 used the ticket, their analysis showed.

The ticket fared even worse in the Sydenham line trial: just 168 passengers a day opted to travel before 7am.

Despite this, the Government pressed ahead, to show it was taking "action" to relieve overcrowding.

The Public Transport Users Association said the new figures showed the scheme had achieved little. "Morning peak-hour trains are as crowded as ever. Free rides don't substitute for providing adequate peak-hour services," president Daniel Bowen said.

Connex data released last week showed overcrowding on Melbourne's morning trains at its worst. Scores of morning rush-hour trains carry 1000 passengers — well above the 798-person recommended limit...

Read the rest of this article at

Monday, November 3, 2008

No silver bullet to get freight moving

Philip Hopkins

"The vast majority of the goods needed and used by Melburnians will be moved around the city by road for many years to come — and at increasing levels … This reality needs to be accepted by Melburnians."the Eddington east-west transport study

FREIGHT is the forgotten player when most people think about Melbourne's transport future. Understandably, attention mainly turns to public transport.

But freight will have to be a key part of the State Government's transport plan for Melbourne, which is scheduled to be released soon. Trucks and trains must be on the agenda.


Ultimately, the Government's transport plan will be determined by the money available. Public transport alone will be costly, as are freeways and tunnels. It is still unclear what impact the financial crisis will have on government surpluses and credit, and particularly on public-private partnerships.

Read the whole of this (largely pro-Eddington report) article at

Planned $1.5bn rail link will free up bottlenecks

Clay Lucas

A 20-KILOMETRE rail link to remove bottlenecks between Geelong and Melbourne, and provide better public transport to the west, is set to be included in a looming Brumby Government transport plan.

The $1.5 billion "Tarneit link" would run through new housing estates and paddocks between Werribee and Deer Park.

The new rail line — flagged in Sir Rod Eddington's $20 billion transport plan in April — is expected to be included in a government transport statement to be released in the first week of December.

Construction of the line would result in Geelong trains travelling through Sunshine instead of Altona, before reaching central Melbourne.

Premier John Brumby met last Thursday with Mr Eddington, who this week will take receipt of a confidential Brumby Government submission to Infrastructure Australia on the state's transport funding needs.

Mr Eddington chairs Infrastructure Australia, the body advising the Federal Government on how it should spend its $20 billion Building Australia Fund.

The Tarneit rail link could result in new stations being built in growth corridors including Derrimut, Truganina and Wyndham Vale, according to the Department of Transport.

The department has repeatedly discussed the rail link with Wyndham Council and residential developer Dennis Corporation.

Much of the land the line would travel along is outside the Government's urban growth boundary — although property groups are lobbying for the boundary to be extended westwards.

Wyndham Council is backing the plan, saying it would get V/Line trains, frequently delayed between Werribee and North Melbourne, out of bottlenecks.

Dennis Corporation chief Bert Dennis, whose company owns residential land throughout Wyndham Vale that would jump in value if the line was built, said he had talked with the Government earlier this year.

The new link would mean only metropolitan Connex trains would operate on the Werribee line, while express V/Line services from Geelong would join the Ballarat line.

Critics of the proposal argue it will only move the problem of bottlenecks with Connex trains on the Werribee line to the Ballarat V/Line route.

The critics also argue it is a longer route, and will remove any time savings for Geelong passengers created by the fast train project.

Wyndham, which takes in Werribee, Point Cook and Hoppers Crossing, has very poor access to public transport.

More than 65% of its residents work outside the municipality but, according to the Government's 2008 Transport Demand Atlas, just 15% use a train or a bus to get to work.

In Boroondara, which takes in Camberwell, Hawthorn and Kew, 36% use public transport to get to work.

Read the original article at

OK... So Sir Rod hands his report to the State Government. They then put the findings into their report, and hand it on to Sir Rod so that he can make a decision. Hmm.... what's that smell?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Have faith in the process..." : Bronwyn Pike

Many times, friends of, as well as other Kensington and Melbourne residents, have heard Bronwyn Pike ask us to "Have faith in the system", or "Have faith in the process", with respect to the State Government's forthcoming Transport Strategy.

She brought John Brumby for a stroll through JJ Holland Park, to get some pix taken [cough, cough... errr] show him what was at stake.

When the Stage Government's Transport Policy Secretary, Pat Love, resigned a few weeks ago, over his committee's decision to support all of the recommendations in the Eddington Report, she said we should "Have faith..."

And this morning, I read this in the Sunday Age

...Education Minister Bronwyn Pike has risked her political future by backing the road tunnel, which will run through the heart of her Melbourne electorate.

Nice one Bron. We hope you enjoyed your stay in state politics. Bye bye! Tell her yourself at

Rail tunnel 'vital' to state economy

VICTORIA'S economy will slow dramatically if the State Government fails to build Sir Rod Eddington's proposed $7 billion rail tunnel, a transport academic has warned. He says the tunnel would enable more people to work in the CBD.

Graham Currie, chair of public transport at Monash University, said constraints on Melbourne's transport system mean the number of commuters who can travel into the CBD has nearly peaked.

Without urgent action, Victoria's productivity will fall as businesses disperse across Melbourne when it becomes impossible for more people to travel into the city, he said.

His fears have been echoed by the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has warned that small city-based businesses will suffer if larger firms — on which they rely for work — are forced to move out of the CBD.

The Victorian economy is heavily dependent on Melbourne's CBD, with almost a quarter of the state's $230 billion gross regional product generated within the City of Melbourne.

Sir Rod has said a rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield would bring at least 40,000 extra people an hour into the city — the equivalent of five West Gate freeways, Professor Currie said. "No one is suggesting we build five West Gate freeways into Melbourne … But an important fact is that CBDs are a huge part of the Australian economy … We have been living off the back of an empty railway to get people here efficiently and now that's finished," he said.

In September, The Age revealed that the State Government was considering abandoning the project in favour of reopening a disused 80-year-old tunnel beneath Footscray.

Professor Currie said anything that increased the size of the rail network should be encouraged but Sir Rod had comprehensively shown that the tunnel would add the capacity Melbourne needed.

"Expanding CBD rail is not just a transport issue, it's at the heart of the future of the Australian economy," he said.

The State Government's new transport plan will respond to Sir Rod's proposals before the end of the year. But with the decision-making done behind closed doors, it has been left to transport experts and observers to debate the project in public.

Both the rail project and Sir Rod's $9 billion road tunnel have won enthusiastic support from powerful lobby groups like VECCI and the RACV, with VECCI spokesman Chris James saying it would be disastrous if transport into the CBD were not upgraded.

He said the Victorian economy revolved around businesses and services such as those in the financial, legal and urban planning sectors — most of which had their headquarters in the city and relied on each other to perform at optimum levels. If it becomes more difficult to travel to work or these businesses are forced apart, productivity will drop.

"It ultimately makes it more difficult for those businesses to source available talent if that talent can't get to work in a timely fashion," Mr James said.

"If firms reduce their investment in the inner-city, it means all money on services that they spend on is reduced … there's a huge flow-on effect."

While the rail tunnel has widespread Labor support, the road tunnel linking the western suburbs to the Eastern Freeway has divided elements of the party.

The Victorian Labor Party's transport policy secretary resigned over his committee's decision to endorse it. And Education Minister Bronwyn Pike has risked her political future by backing the road tunnel, which will run through the heart of her Melbourne electorate.

The Greens remain opposed to both tunnels, and last month released their own $14 billion "People Plan".

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder has backed a road tunnel.

Read the original article at (our bold)

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor candidate, Peter McMullin, has a leadership role at VECCI. Look at his policies here We will do a profile on all of the candidates once they are finalised.

Bronwyn Pike? Well, she's lucky enough to get profiled now!