Moreland joins ‘trains not tunnels’ campaign

Issue 
Campaigners want the government to rip up the contracts and build public transport instead of the East West Link.

Residents of Moreland in Melbourne's inner north have joined the campaign against the unpopular East West Link tollway tunnel. A community rally is planned for  March 30.

Some of the local groups most affected by the tunnel in Moreland are sporting clubs. The Brunswick Zebras soccer club, the Brunswick Cricket Club and the Royal Park Reds cricket club face losing access to sports grounds while the tunnel is being built.

Many Moreland residents have been supporting the community pickets of the test drilling for the tunnel in Collingwood and Fitzroy, in the hope that the state government will be forced to delay the signing of contracts until the state election.

Moreland residents set up a new group to campaign against the East West Link called Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel (MCAT) in November.

The group has been holding weekend stalls in different parts of Moreland and has collected 500 signatures on a petition.

MCAT was initiated by Moreland councillor Sue Bolton, of Socialist Alliance, after passing a motion for council to back a community campaign against the East West Link.

“I initiated MCAT because I felt that there was a need to spread the campaign to other areas and involve more people in the campaign,” said Bolton.

“MCAT is calling for the ALP to commit that, if elected in the November state election, it will rip up the contracts and build public transport instead of the East West Link. If the ALP was prepared to promise this, it is unlikely that any company would bid to build the project.

“We are calling on the government to delay the signing of the contracts until after the November state election so that the election can be a referendum on the East West Link.”

MCAT supports public transport projects that are needed in Moreland as well as other areas. These include duplication and extension of the Upfield train line through to Craigieburn, grade separation of the level crossings, urgent modernisation of the signalling system, a train to the airport, and extension of tram and bus services.

“MCAT is a new group and already we have been getting plenty of offers of help,” said Bolton. “There is a feeling that we can defeat the East West Link. MCAT includes people who were involved in the successful community campaign to save the Upfield Line from closure. We want to use their experience to stop the East West Link.”

[MCAT’s rally will take place on March 30 at 1pm, starting on the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sydney Road, and finishing at Warr Park. Phil Cleary and Rod Quantock will be among the speakers.]