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? ;)

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