The issue of ‘Skyrail’ has become major news in the past 36 hours culminating in protest meetings and petitions to parliament. All accompanied by major TV, newspaper and radio focus. Many comments are also going up on our website. Hence, this post is basically a few reflections on the processes involved by all players to this stage – Liberal, Labor and Council. Please note that we are not advocating for any specific pro or con position on ‘skyrail’ – there is so much that is unknown that at this stage at least, it is impossible to form a cogent and valid viewpoint – unless one is gullible enough to swallow hook line and sinker the multi-million dollar public relations videos and flyers. What is undeniably clear is:

  • The failure to inform the community
  • The failure to consult with the community prior to such major decisions being made
  • The reprehensible game of politics where the Liberal Party is so very quick to seize the opportunity to oppose the project whilst when in government they also had ‘secret’ plans to sell off land to developers and produce ten storey apartment blocks in the south-east. Why weren’t residents consulted here? – See: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/highrise-plan-for-railway-hubs-20140503-37p6f.html
  • Next there’s Council with Hyams and Okotel (Liberals) taking full advantage of yesterday’s public protest meeting. Where was Delahunty, Magee, Lobo (nominally Labor) – especially since the mantra is that councillors are not representing political parties but the local community? Where were the Labor pollies?
  • Where is Council right now with its pathetic Draft Action Plan on Transport – that is already behind schedule and most of the ‘actions’ not due to happen for at least another 2 years? Council has not raised a finger to allay resident concerns about high rise developments alongside stations, or the further loss of public open space, or sought in any shape or form to protect native vegetation or 600 year old trees. No public statements, no media releases on council position on these things. Now rumour has it that Kitmont St and the Riley Park area could be devastated by construction yet there is only one Vegetation Overlay in the entire planning scheme and no Significant Tree Register.

Each and every one of these players deserves to be condemned for their secrecy, their short sightedness, their indifference to community concerns, and the awful political games they all play at the expense of local residents and proper governance. In the end the only possible conclusion is how poorly we are governed overall and how powerful certain vested interests are.

PS: If anyone has any doubts as to our councillors being “community representatives” or political party disciples, then the minutes from 8th April 2015 should resolve all doubt. Item 9.10 of that meeting included ‘debate’ on the timing of grade separation. A motion was put and then Sounness and Delahunty moved the following amendment –

Amend section (a) to read; (a) Thanking her for her letter and commending
her and the Andrews Government on the recent announcement regarding the
Cranbourne Packenham line upgrade which will mean a great deal to our
residents.

The vote on the above was:

FOR : Sounness, Delahunty, Lobo, Magee, Pilling

AGAINST: Hyams, Lipshutz, Esakoff, Okotel

Need we say any more?

 

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