A rally opposed to Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s $250 million plan to redevelop the Queen Victoria Market attracted about 300 people in late April. Many people consider the plans to be a land grab for Doyle’s developer mates.
The rally was chaired by National Union of Workers president Caterina Cinanni. She called for a moratorium on all development plans until proper consultation is undertaken with the market traders and the wider community. Furthermore, she called on the state Labor government to legislate to stop the development from going ahead.
The council recently approved a $5 million “urban greenhouse” to house the traders dislocated by the redevelopment. This shows that they are not yet ready to back down. This structure will be a long, low tunnel with a transparent upper floor to be used as a fruit and vegetable garden.
Described as a “world standard attraction” the greenhouse was approved by council despite them not seeing the actual design details! In reality it is nothing more than a glorified supermarket aisle. Besides, shoppers go to the market to buy fruit and vegetables, not to watch them grow!
The campaign to save the market has made some headway informing the public about the sham consultation process, and the major transformation of the area that would take place. Now, the campaign must up the ante and turn to engaging in action those who agree that the development should be halted.
An open campaign committee needs to be established to help broaden the struggle. At the same time, much more pressure needs to be exerted on the state government, particularly the planning minister Dick Wynne. The campaign would be strengthened immensely if the building unions publicly announced that they will not cooperate with the development plans.
By Michael Naismith