MTAG PROTEST ACTION – Is the Tunnel good for our Neighbourhood?

July 22, 2016

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Will the Western Distributor really rid our streets of trucks?

It’s time to hit the streets, to send a clear message to government – commit to permanent truck bans once the Western Distributor is built, and give us world’s best practice filtration, or we don’t support it.

Join us for a lawful, safe and family friendly protest: 

8:00am – 8:30am Thursday 11 August 

Cnr of Francis Street and Williamstown Road Yarraville.  

The Western Distributor Tollway could remove thousands of trucks from our residential streets.  But without bans, trucks will continue to use our streets to avoid tolls, in much greater numbers than now.  So far the government has not committed to this. We also demand world’s best practice filtration on the vent stacks.  Otherwise we may get the trucks off our streets, but continue to breathe diesel exhaust for decades to come!

There is a very real chance that this project will make the truck problem worse. This would be devastating for our neighbourhood and we cannot let that happen.

Will Daniel Andrews go down in history as yet another premier that promised a solution but didn’t deliver?  Or will he be forever known as the one that actually solved this problem, finally bringing a long 15 year campaign to an end?

We will be going ahead no matter what the weather.  Meet on the grass outside the flats, next to the D-Lux car wash.   Be early, parking might be tricky and there will be a crowd.

Speakers Include:

Oncology pharmacist and clean air advocate Clare Walter – Clare is a pharmacist who has specialised in oncology and worked with lung cancer patients for the past decade.  She has a particular interest in air pollution that started when diesel was categorised as a class 1 carcinogen.  She presented with an expert witness – Prof Lou Irving, at the public hearing for East West Link regarding the health impacts of the proposed project and calling for further consideration of filters and better placement of ventilation stacks.  She has presented at a number of conferences about health and air pollution and co-wrote a major government submission for the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre and Lung Foundation of Australia titled ‘Clean Air, Less Cancer’. 

Maribyrnong Councillor Grant Miles is a former Mayor of Maribyrnong and has been a strong advocate on the truck issue during his time on council.  He is concerned that the current proposal won’t be a good enough solution for this community.

MTAG President Samantha McArthur – Samantha has been a tireless campaigner on this issue now for four years and is concerned that the Western Distributor will be yet another project promised to this community that doesn’t deliver urgently needed improvements.

Special appearances by:

Snuff PuppetsFootscray’s legendary puppet company will be performing.  Look out for the Ringmaster, who believes very strongly that trucks belong on freeways!

The ‘Deliver us from Diesel’ community marching band – featuring YOU! Bring your instruments, warm up your vocal chords and come ready to make a sound so loud they’ll hear us from Spring St!  The louder the better!

 

We recently wrote to Premier Daniel Andrews and said this:

“We write on behalf of residents of the inner west of Melbourne who, as you know, have borne the brunt of poor transport planning and political neglect for some decades, and who live daily with continuously increasing volumes of truck traffic on narrow residential streets. These residents watch daily as their children suffer skyrocketing rates of respiratory illness. They are counting the costs of long-term exposure to carcinogenic diesel particulate matter, to noise pollution, and to the dangers of close proximity to fast moving heavy vehicles that travel along roads never designed for such a purpose.
Premier, you lead a government which came into office in November 2014 on the back of community concern about the previous government’s shenanigans over the East West Link. You came in with bold promises about public transport, resolving problems of congestion on the West Gate Freeway and the West Gate Bridge, and about removing large numbers of trucks from our streets. Our community was promised a solution to the issue of 21,000 trucks per day on our residential streets in the form of the West Gate Distributor, to be completed within the first term of your government. The Western Distributor has superseded this project, and we note that your government’s Western Distributor project website promises many things: 5,600 construction jobs, reduced peak hour travel times, substantial savings for truck operators, an $11 billion boost to the state’s economy, fewer serious crashes on our roads, and improved access to the City. However, we also note that it promises to remove just 6000 of the 21,000 trucks that use Maribyrnong City streets every day. It promises only to remove “up to 75% of trucks off Francis Street and Somerville Road”.  It seems that removing large numbers of trucks from our streets is a very low priority for this project.
From the project business case, we understand that when the new Distributor is finished in 2022 the freight industry will still be allowed to use Williamstown Road, Buckley Street, and Moore Street, despite these being narrow and residential, and especially in the case of Buckley Street central to the commercial and educational aspirations of the area. MTAG have been unable to gain a commitment from your Government to impose 24/7 truck bans for all residential streets in the inner west. MTAG have clearly articulated this as a necessity for both Distributor projects, and we are extremely disappointed that your Government doesn’t seem serious about ensuring either project provides the desperately required solution to the problem of sky-rocketing respiratory illness rates for our children, and the raft of other extremely harmful health impacts caused by long-term exposure to diesel particulate matter.
Premier, MTAG have so far been engaged in good faith consultations about this project, meeting with Transurban, DEDJTR, the Treasurer, and the Ministers for Roads, Ports and Port Safety. We are represented on the project’s Community Liaison Group, chaired by Mr Jim Williamson.  
There is growing concern within our community about the impact of the Western Distributor on residences, community centres, sporting facilities, kindergartens, and open space. Many residents are becoming increasingly unconvinced that the compromises they are being asked to make will, in fact, deliver any benefit to the inner west. MTAG is no longer prepared to engage in lengthy discussions about the detail of the design, having lost confidence that the project will achieve the aim of significantly reducing the number of trucks on our streets without guaranteed 24/7 truck bans on all residential streets. 
Premier, you promised to deliver traffic solutions for western Melbourne. You promised to deal with the truck problem, and you promised to do so within the first term of your government. Despite our constant calls for a solution over the past 15 years, all we have seen is plan after plan fall off the table. It’s time to finally fix the problem once and for all, and if a $5.5 billion project doesn’t achieve this, then what will?”

 

Be sure to join us on the 11th August 2016.  Lets send a clear message to government – address our concerns now!

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