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Issue #1618      November 13, 2013

Residents stand strong against proposed Melbourne tunnel

After successfully shutting down Lend Lease’s Docklands office for several hours last week, opponents of the East-West Link again targeted the building giant on November 6.

Protesters met at 7am on the corner of Bourke Street and Harbour Esplanade in the Docklands (Docklands Park) and then marched to the location at 825 Bourke Street.

Lend Lease are one of the front runners bidding for the controversial East-West tunnel and toll road project. If they win the contract they are set to rake in millions of dollars in profits. The other major construction firm bidding for the project is John Holland.

To make this project even more attractive to these private investors the economic model being used by the government means that the tax payer will take on all the risk.

Areas of Melbourne’s north will become construction zones for up to five years. Impact documents reveal that people face dust pollution, increased congestion and work on the east-west tollway will cause noise and vibrations.

The will be a temporary loss of open public space and a permanent loss of two hectares. This is on top of the acquisition of 105 homes and 34 commercial properties.

In addition, Royal Park will lose 1.36 hectares to the proposed six-lane freeway.

Lend Lease last year admitted to cheating its US clients for a decade on projects including the 9/11 memorial and New York’s Grand Central Station. It subsequently agreed to pay a fine of $US40.5 million. Despite this, it is still one of the state government’s preferred contractors.

Protest organiser Mel Gregson said, “While this rogue company might be a favourite of the Liberals, they are not going to be welcomed into our neighbourhood.

“We are demanding that Lend Lease pull out of this project. We are telling them now that the tunnel will not be going ahead. If the government is arrogant enough to proceed to construction they will be met with a mass community picket at the site.

“This community is not going to allow billions of dollars to be wasted on a toll road and tunnel that won’t reduce congestion. We want to see money invested in the state’s public transport network. This would do much more to solve traffic congestion problems and create many more jobs.” Mel said.   

Next article – Abbott’s wrecker’s ball let loose

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