For months Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle kept his plans for a $250 million redevelopment of the Queen Victoria market secret. It has now been revealed that the Council has agreed to pay a developer $50 million to build an apartment tower of up to 46,000 square metres on the site. The skyscraper could be 100 metres tall!
Doyle’s secrecy was a thinly veiled attempt to hide his big business agenda, due to the stringent opposition to his plans from market traders and shoppers. In fact, the small traders have joined the National Union of Workers and prepared a log of claims demanding security of tenure, for the redevelopment to be put on hold, and for the market to remain an open air facility.
The small traders plan to use the October Council elections to expose Doyle’s plans further. They will stand Michael Caiafa as a candidate while the former Independent MP Phil Cleary is also standing for Lord Mayor in opposition to Doyle’s plans.
Market shoppers have also set up the Friends of Queen Victoria Market and held a couple of public meetings with demands along the same lines as the traders. Both the traders and the shoppers are demanding real representation on the market board and in negotiations with the Council.
Doyle’s consultation has been a sham so far and driven by the needs of his developer mates. Doyle is well known for taking donations from developers and they see him as their representative on the Council.
One group that must be included in the campaign to protect the market is the workers. They need a guarantee of secure employment. We cannot allow this historic site to be ruined by greedy developers. It was previously saved by the labour movement and it needs to be retained as an asset for working class people.
By Michael Naismith