Great turn out to our Willy Rd Needs Truck Bans Too protest action! Thanks to all those who braved the rain and early morning to come together and say:
- Williamstown Rd must come with truck bans once the West Gate Tunnel Project is complete. Don’t spend $6.7 billion on infrastructure and leave thousands of trucks running right through Kingsville, Seddon and Yarraville.
- Stop putting kids in harms way – thousands of trucks past an existing school and new child care centre is unconscionable.
- We are sick of politicians playing political football with this issue. This fight has gone for almost 20 years and we’ve had enough. We need solutions now.
We had some excellent speakers including:
Professor Lou Irving, Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. This was his first visit to this intersection and to say he was shocked by what he saw would be an understatement. Lou told the crowd “Good air quality is essential for good health. There is very strong evidence that diesel pollution kills people and reduces our health. The evidence is based on many studies from overseas and it shows that traffic pollution is a major cause of low birthweight children, asthma in children, respiratory ill health in children and in adults – heart attacks, stroke and lung cancer. These studies show that there is no safe lower limit for PM2.5, tiny particles that are emitted by diesel.” He talked about the government appointed committee for the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement who made the recommendation to government for further pollution mitigation measures such as filtration in the tunnel. These recommendations were ignored. He also expressed concern about the new child care centre being built on the intersection.
Willy Rd resident Kate who spoke of her dismay at what Williamstown Rd is to become. “Like many of you, I was initially delighted to hear that the West Gate Tunnel would take trucks off Francis Street and Somerville Road. It was not until December, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, that I realised what this meant for Millers Road, and Williamtown Road where we had bought our family home just over a year ago. My initial reaction was sadness and devastation – the street and family community we had begun to love would be turned into a truck thorough affair – just like that! I thought about what doubling the truck traffic on Willi Rd would mean for us – unbearable noise and more huge B-double trucks rattling our house, constant traffic congestion making it difficult to go anywhere and for friends to visit, but most of all I worried that I would be putting my now 2-month-old son at risk, with evidence showing that the predicted levels of diesel population would be particularly harmful to little ones respiratory systems.”
Emily in grade 4 at Yarraville West Primary School who expressed her concern for the impact of thousands more trucks on her school. “It is good the trucks are being banned on Francis St, but they still need to be banned on Williamstown Rd too because the trucks will be driving really close to my school, and when we play on the oval during play time, all we will be smelling is the disgusting pollution in the air.”
Samantha McArthur, MTAG President: ” Enough politicisation of infrastructure spend. We are sick of being a political football and we’re sick of government and oppositions not doing their job. It’s not a game of ‘my tunnel is better than your tunnel’, this is people’s lives we are talking about here. I’m calling on Daniel Andrews not to spend this money only to make it a half-arsed measure. I’m also calling on the Libs and the Greens to support truck bans for this project and filtration in the tunnel.”
We also had Kelly and Scotty from the wonderful Snuff Puppets, two kids who believe very strongly that kids need clean air!
Huge thanks to Vic Police for blocking the traffic, our fantastic speakers, the Snuff Puppets, Willy Rd residents and everyone who turned up and added their voice.