Members of the Coalition for People’s Transport picketed Parliament House this morning with a giant‘train’ to emphasise their point. The occasion was a summit meeting of the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) which is expected to push for a series of new infrastructure plans including an underground extension of the Eastern Freeway, a start to channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay, new power generation capacity etc etc. The Coalition for People’s Transport, which includes founding members VCOSS and Environment Victoria as well as the PTUA and several other community and social justice groups, issued a statement criticising the Tranport Minister, Peter Batchelor, and VECCI for ‘undermining Melbourne’s future with unnecessary and costly road proposals.’
Coalition spokesperson Cath Smith, VCOSS CEO, said that with petrol prices set to rise further, Melburnians urgently need alternatives to the car or the city would grind to a halt. “Currently many parts of Melbourne have no accessible public transport,” said Ms Smith. “The success of the Government’s major plan for Melbourne … relies on significant investment in public transport that is not being delivered. It is time for a complete re-prioritisation away from new freeways and roads and into public transport …”
A flyer from the Coalition also made the point that “[private] business interests are clearly the motivation behind the Chamber’s call for large road projects. Melbourne’s public interest will be far better served by a significant investment in public transport.”
See also Melbourne Indymedia.