The campaign against the East-West tunnel in Melbourne has entered an exciting new phase with the start of a caravan tour around outer suburban Melbourne and regional Victoria.
By Tim Tran, Socialist Party
For about 6 months community campaigners picketed the test drilling work for the tunnel and caused significant delays to the government’s schedule. The picketing also kept the issue on the political agenda. Now the community campaign is actively building a stronger opposition to the project Victoria-wide.
The East-West Link project is a clear example of how government decision making is done in the interests of big business profiteers while the community pays the price. The real beneficiaries behind this project are big businesses who public money spent to create a quicker route for freight trucks from the ports to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
While the government is trying to push through this project before the next election polls show 75% to 85% of people support investment in public transport prioritised as opposed to over wasting tax payers’ money on a tunnel which would be an environmental, social and economic disaster.
The caravan tour is reaching out to communities that have been neglected with no decent public transport alternatives. Areas like Doncaster and Mernda, which were the first stops on the tour, are in desperate need of rail extensions. These could be done at a fraction of the tunnel’s cost.
Already we have seen a great response from the community in these areas with many people participating in our photo petition and signing our pledge to be active in the campaign. This will help put pressure on the Labor Party opposition to tear up the tunnel contracts if they are signed before the election.
A mass movement of people can stop this project in its tracks and lay the basis for us to win huge investment into public transport infrastructure. The campaign is using the caravan tour as a way of building for a public rally on June 28 in the Melbourne CBD.
To get involved or find out more: visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EastWestTunnelPledge or text ‘tunnel’ to 0432447036.