Campaign against East West Link will not stop

Days before the Victorian elections on November 29, the Labor opposition promised to scrap the East West Link, a massive road project in Melbourne with an estimated cost of $18 billion.

On the back of a large community campaign to stop the project, this position helped Labor win the election.

The history of the campaign to stop the tunnel provides lessons on how the community can successfully beat the power of corporations and governments.

East West Link gets approval as 3000 march against it

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.

The unholy convergence of interests around WestConnex

About 120 Sydney residents, concerned about the impact of the proposed WestConnex motorway, met at the Annandale Neighbourhood Centre on June 25.

The meeting heard that WestConnex, the biggest and most expensive motorway in the Australia, will not reduce congestion and is just an excuse for a developer land grab along Parramatta Road.

Battle ignites for Newcastle rail

The NSW Coalition government announced plans on December 13 last year to cut the Newcastle rail line at Wickham station. As part of the urban renewal strategy document, passengers would have to transfer to buses to complete the last two kilometres of their journey to Newcastle.

A long-running community group, Save Our Rail, has twice stopped former Labor and Coalitions governments' attempts to cut the line.

Here are ten reasons why the campaign needs to continue:

There is no solution proposed for rail users affected by the cut

Gov't ups costs and policing across Melbourne's public transport network

With impeccable smiling customer service staff motioning to myki readers and swarms of grinning, armed, uniformed officers pursuing passengers for a chat, the Victorian Liberal government hopes to win support for its public transport agenda.

Public Transport Victoria stopped selling weekly, monthly and yearly Metcards on July 2. More than 80% of Metcard machines have been removed from train stations. The expensive and unpopular myki system will soon take over.

NSW government spins figures on public transport

The New South Wales government welcomed figures released by the state transport department on June 28 showing a slight increase in the proportion of trips taken by public transport in NSW over the 2008/09 year. “In 2008/09 travel by train increased by 3.1 per cent and travel by bus grew by 2.4 per cent whilst car trips fell by 0.8 per cent”, the government website said.

Save Our Rail confronts anti rail PR machine

Community group Save Our Rail held a lively picket outside a 700-strong meeting of the anti-rail lobby Fix Our City (FOC) at Newcastle Town Hall on June 3.

FOC is a business and developer lobby group whose explicit aim is to have the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) “urban renewal report” implemented.

The HDC report’s main proposal is to cut the Newcastle at Wickham station.

Save Our Rail drew 150 people to the counter-rally. It had the support of the Rail Tram and Bus Union, which brought several large union banners.

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