Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne. * * * You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.
About 3000 people marched through Sydney's inner-west suburbs of Newtown and St Peters on February 1 to show their opposition to the $12 billion WestConnex motorway project. The project would destroy 80 homes and bulldoze sections of six local parks. Iconic Sydney Park is projected to lose 12,000 square metres of green space. WestConnex Action Group and Reclaim the Streets organised the rally.
Victorian planning minister Matthew Guy approved stage one of the East West Link toll road on June 30, ignoring key recommendations from the planning panel to reduce impacts from the project. Guy said he had granted relevant approvals for the project on the condition that the Linking Melbourne Authority redesign parts of the project.
Moreland City Councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sue Bolton delivered the following speech at the Trains Not Tolls rally in Melbourne on June 28. The rally was organised to protest against the new East West Link motorway. *** It’s great seeing people here from all over Melbourne, because this issue affects not just people from the inner city where the East West Link is designed to go, but it affects people from all over Melbourne and all over Victoria.
Several hundred residents and supporters rallied in Ashfield Park, in Sydney’s inner west, on February 9 to protest against the WestConnex road development. Rally organisers said: "WestConnex intends to widen Parramatta Road in order to create an entrance to the planned westbound tunnel under Parramatta Road. We stand to lose a 10-20 metre stretch of Ashfield Park. "Ashfield Park may be used as a depot for trucks and heavy machinery for up to seven years. Now is the time to protest."
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.
Every day at 5.30am, residents and supporters gather in the Collingwood area around Alexandra Parade to protest against test drilling for the government's proposed East-West Link tollway tunnel. Keith Fitzgerald stands to lose the house he has lived in for 69 years if the tunnel is built. He told Green Left Weekly the protests are about more than just his home. “They've got no right to take our heritage, our history, our parks and our clean air away from us. These are the vital things that we're fighting for and will continue to fight for.
A meeting of about 160 residents called by Moreland City Council voted unanimously to reject the proposed East West Link on November 12. The first stage of the major road project is planned to link the Eastern freeway with the Tullamarine tollway at an estimated cost of $8 billion. Residents called instead for the money to be spent on improved public transport. Andrew Munro, from the Metropolitan Transport Forum, spoke of the need for more investment in public transport.
The Victorian government has released the East West Link Comprehensive Impact Statement (CIS). Public comment has been sought until December 12. The consultation process ends in July next year. The proposed East West Link is an 18-kilometre road project, including a multilane tunnel, which would extend from Hoddle St to the Western Ring Road at Sunshine East. The CIS covers the eastern section of the proposed road, extending from Clifton Hill through Parkville to the Port of Melbourne precinct.
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."