Over 200 residents attended a rally in Fitzroy yesterday despite the cold weather and drizzling rain. The rally was organised by the Yarra Campaign Against the Tunnel (YCAT) to protest against the State Government’s plans to build a tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway to Melbourne’s western Suburbs.
Socialist Party Councillor in Yarra, Stephen Jolly spoke at the rally and was well received. The action made the evening news and went some way towards explaining the real reasons why the government wants to build this tunnel. YCAT is also gaining a lot of interest thanks to the 10,000 plus leaflets that were letterboxed in the lead up to the event.
Socialist Party members and supporters handed out our own leaflet on the day. See below to read the text.
Don’t believe the government propaganda!
The East-West tunnel will not ease congestion
Say NO to the tunnel – Fight for public transport in ALL of Melbourne’s suburbs!
The Eddington report commissioned by the State Government has proposed the biggest capital expenditure program in Australian history at $18 billion. The report has recommended that more than half of this money should go to the building of a tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway to Melbourne’s western suburbs.
This tunnel is opposed by a wide range of planning experts, environment groups and public transport advocates as well as organisations like the Socialist Party. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly the tunnel will not ease congestion or solve Melbourne’s transport problems. Secondly the money should be spent on public transport as an alternative to cars.
Contrary to what the State Government has been telling people, this tunnel will not ease traffic congestion or make it quicker to get into the city. Most figures show that over 85 percent of traffic is not traveling from the east-west through the city. The majority of people are actually going into the city for work. This tunnel is not about making the lives of ordinary people easier it is about serving the needs of big business.
The Victorian road freight industry is very big business, it contributes 14.5 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. This is expected to grow significantly in Victoria, especially after the bay has been dredged and bigger ships with more containers start coming into the Melbourne docks.
It is estimated that by 2031 the Port of Melbourne will be handling about 8 million containers a year, a fourfold increase from this year!
With such a big increase the transport companies need quicker and easier ways to move their goods. A tunnel linking Melbourne’s west to the east would mean a much more profitable option for the trucking companies wanting to move stock into the eastern suburbs. Big business profits is at the heart of the issue not traffic congestion or the environment. We need to move towards moving this stock by rail instead of road.
The Socialist Party is totally opposed to spending billions of dollars on a road tunnel especially given it won’t help ordinary people. To top it off this road will be tolled and the costs will be out of reach for many anyway. In a time of global warming and environmental crisis it is crazy to be pumping such large amounts of money into roads when public transport is lacking in most suburbs.
Public transport creates more jobs and is better for the environment. With a fraction of the $18 billion we could revolutionise public transport therefore eliminating the need for such reliance on cars.
The Socialist Party supports ALL Melbourne suburbs having access to a regular and integrated public transport system. This is the only solution to solving Melbourne’s transport problems and reducing the effects that cars have on our environment.
Join the Socialist Party – Say NO to the tunnel!