Protest intensifies against East-West tunnel

Photo: Martin Smith

Hundreds braved rain on October 13 to rally against the construction of the East West link in Melbourne's inner suburbs.

The Socialist Party's Anthony Maine, vilified by the Herald Sun as a “serial pest” spoke at the rally. He said: “The government is making decisions on behalf of the road lobby. We have the potential of mass support on our side of people that want to see more rail [lines] built. Our goal has to be to mobilise these people into action."

Greens MP Adam Bandt said: "We need to protect the lungs of Melbourne and Royal Park, and make sure people's homes are not ripped down. This isn't just a battle against a polluting toll road, it's a battle for the future of Melbourne.

“We could become a world class public transport city or we can become like Los Angeles. The message to people in outer suburbs is if this tunnel goes ahead, you can forget any funding for public transport in your area."

Yarra councilor and Socialist Party member Steve Jolly said: "They threw everything at people in the campaign. We now have to target the investors. Two companies have been shortlisted: LendLease and John Holland."

Seventy-year-old local Keith Fitzgerald said: "I was born in Collingwood 70 years ago. I recently received a letter stating that my house had been acquired. I am not moving! I witnessed a struggle in the 1970s when 99 homes were bulldozed in Collingwood, and 36 acres of parkland was lost. Now we stand to lose much more."

Freda Watkin, from the Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport, said: "I am a serial pest until the government stops this tunnel."

Deputy director of the Save Royal Park Protection Committee Rod Quantock proposed a new campaign slogan: "Stick the tunnel up your funnel."

Protesters also rallied against the tunnel, at John Holland headquarters on October 15.