Two Melbourne Transport Stories

Yes to Doncaster Rail

Here are two competing images of Melbourne’s transport future just a few hundred metres apart on Alexandra Parade in Collingwood and Fitzroy:

We have the City of Yarra’s billboard which asks people to campaign for Doncaster rail and  a few hundred metres west there is the Baillieu government’s drilling rig. Ted Baillieu announced a few weeks ago that the drilling rig is undertaking soil testing for a proposed east-west freeway link between the eastern end of the Eastern Freeway and the Western Ring Road.
Mysterious changes in government priorities

Drilling for the East West road tunnel and tollway starts on Alexandra Parade

During the 2010 state election campaign Ted Baillieu promised an examination of a rail link between Doncaster and the Melbourne CBD. The study is currently under way at an approximate cost of $6 million. Shortly after taking office the Baillieu government also suspended the Brumby government’s examination of the expansion of Hoddle Street because of the priority it then gave to the Doncaster rail study.

However, more recently the Baillieu government sought federal funding for work for the proposed east-west link. So far this funding has not been forthcoming.

No business case, much less a cost-benefit analysis, has been developed for such a project. In fact a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the previous Labor government showed the link is economically unjustified.

Nevertheless Premier Baillieu is speaking as if it is a certainty, and as you can see he has bunting surrounding his drilling rig to announce the project.


So what is the motive? Is it a bit of wedge politics to set off the ALP’s inner northern suburban constituency against the outer suburbs? Or does the  government have merchant banker mates just down the hill in Collins Street  working on a privatised road deal just too good to refuse in the lead-up to the 2014 state election? Or is it just Melbourne’s no. 1 roads lobby group, the RACV, and their seedy mates plying their black magic on a government that does not know which way is “up” when it comes to transport policy? We do know the RACV is currently campaigning  via its “RedSpot” promotion for both the east-west link and the north-east link across the Yarra and through Banyule.

But didn’t planning minister, and Northern Metropolitan MP, Matthew Guy, tell a Friends of Banyule delegation on 15 July 2011 that the north-east link “is not on the radar.” Yes he did.

Worth keeping an eye on that radar.

Ted Baillieu should reflect on the space inefficiency of large volumes of motor car traffic in urban and suburban Melbourne and the fact that  Melbourne continues to work as well as it does only because more and more workers and visitors have been able to travel by public transport and not by motor car. It is at the centre of Melbourne’s much vaunted “liveability.”

Victoria recently had an architect as planning minister. Surprisingly, he did not understand that simple fact. If he did, he kept it a big secret.

Ted Baillieu, our architect Premier needs to absorb and impart this simple fact to those around him.


About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Car Dependency, Doncaster Rail, Investment in Rail, Ne-Link Freeway, Public Transport, Road Lobby, Trains, Vic Roads, Vic State Election 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Two Melbourne Transport Stories

  1. Using data from BITRE report 124, Sir Rod Eddington’s 2008 road traffic
    forecast did not materialize. While the Middle East disintegrates and
    160 million Chinese cars will compete with Australian motorists in 2020,
    a complete re-think is necessary

    Melbourne’s East West Link tunnel proposal has low benefit cost ratio
    and high oil price risk

    Destiny of all road tunnels:

    Brisbane Airport Link: At the end of the road tunnel, investor money
    flies away (part 2)

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