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Budget funds go to East West road link NOT rail projects

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. (PPL VIC)

Media Release Wednesday 8 May 2013

Yesterday saw Premier Denis Napthine announce funding for the East West (Road) Link in the State Budget. Thus he has condemned Melbourne to future gridlock and has put on hold improved public transport in the form of urban rail to Doncaster, Tullamarine, Rowville and South Morang. PPL VIC together with many inner city community groups and Yarra Council has, over the past two years, been campaigning for “Trains Not Toll Roads “.

Julianne Bell Secretary of PPL VIC explains: “This morning, ABC radio 774 listeners were staggered to hear the Treasurer, Mr Michael O’Brien, say that the “tunnel” would link Hoddle Street and CityLink but there would be no access/exits for commuters to the city where much of the traffic off the Eastern Freeway is headed. This was the plan for a truck bypass of the city proposed by the Eddington Review of 2008. (The East West Link proposal was scrapped by the Brumby Labor Government.) Community groups such as PPL VIC were alarmed over information supplied by Linking Melbourne Authority, the project “proponent”, at a community briefing held on 3 April 2013 that the 4 lane roadway will not be in a tunnel (as the Treasurer maintains) for the entire 18 kilometre length. Some sections will be in the form of an aerial roadway or constructed by open cut methods. Consequently we fear for the future of our heritage streetscapes, our gracious treed avenues, for Royal Park and for the institutions located in the park – the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Melbourne Zoo and the State Netball and Hockey Centre.”

Rod Quantock, Acting President of PPL VIC takes a long term view:

“The squandering of our common wealth on an unnecessary road link is to be condemned. The car is not the answer for the future, a future that, in light of CO2 pollution, peak oil and over-population, requires new ways of living, working and moving. The CSIRO has predicted petrol prices could be as high as $8 per litre by the end of this decade. Who will use this road then? Who will use it when predicted days of 50 degrees centigrade plus bend and buckle it? Who will use it when an extra 2 million people clog the city's arteries? It is time for our craven leaders to stand-up to the road lobbies, to show leadership and foresight and a commitment to the well-being of future Melburnians. It is time to back public transport.”

PPL VIC and inner city community groups together with the Coalition of Transport Action Groups will continue to oppose the East West Link and to lobby for improved public transport, in particular urban rail lines to Doncaster and Tullamarine. We will be taking the message to candidates in the next State Government election.

Julianne Bell PPL VIC Secretary Mobile: 0408 022408
Rod Quantock PPL VIC Acting President 0438 862079

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The Financial Times said that “In 2000, when there were eight refineries in Australia, only 5% of fuel was imported – equivalent to less than 100,000 b/d (barrels per day). Fuel imports rose to nearly a quarter of total demand by 2010, or 320,000 b/d, as consumption increased and one refinery closed."

Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy, has said that the refinery closures ‘will not jeopardise Australia’s energy security’. That is is plain wrong. Australian energy security is at extreme risk. Australia’s political leaders have not always been living in a fool’s paradise on the subject of liquid fuel security.

Australia needs liquid fuel security

With such a spread-out population, Australia relies heavily on road transportation to move goods and services around. Our transport system is more than 95 per cent dependent on oil.

Sydney will have no refining capacity after 2014. The Clyde refinery closed last year and Kurnell will follow soon. If our supplies are cut off due to disruption to our shipping lanes, we would find ourselves in a crisis situation very quickly. Australia could come to a standstill within three weeks if there was a major disruption to the country’s liquid fuel supply, according to a new report commissioned by NRMA Motoring & Services.

We have about three weeks’ worth of fuel at our disposal before the country would come to a standstill. This fact alone should cause concern within the Australian Government and we want them to bring the planned 2014 assessment of Australia’s liquid fuel vulnerability forward to address this problem.

Australia imports most of its refined petroleum products from Singapore, which depends on the Middle East for more than 80% of its supplies. Political instability or conflict in the Middle East, or along oil supply chains such as the Strait of Hormuz, would have detrimental effects on Australia’s energy security.

Our politicians are in the pocket of big businesses and imagine that the world of yesterday will continue for decades to come. Building tunnels and freeways would have been appropriate in past decades, but not in 2013 as our oil reserves are drying up.

The congestion that is causing our productivity to decline by time wasted in traffic queues won't be eased until we have a population policy for Victoria. Ongoing growth will continue to exacerbate the problem while it is being "fixed"!

Our city's heritage Royal Park and open space for grasses and birds will be destroyed for short-term gain, due to the demands of big business supply chains that need rapid access across Melbourne. If the people were asked, they would prefer updated public transport, not more cars and trucks on our roads.

It is scary for national security when we have to go begging for fuel in desperation. car servicing

Editorial comment: This comment includes a link to a commercial site. However, as this comment adds to the to the discussion and as the car servicing service in the UK, described in the page linked to, seems novel and useful, we decided not to remove this comment.