|The traps identified in the parent post have only gotten deeper across a dozen weeks, culminating in election of a federal government that has rapidly appeared even less prepared and less well informed than our state coupe leader, if that were possible.|
Of course there is always good news to go with the bad. Kelvin Thomson made his seat the safest of all and has chosen to use that position of strength to take a more independent role from the back bench, and doubtless his good work for our Creek will only be enhanced. And there is no shortage of other ALP parliamentarians, state and federal, sounding more sensible than they had been able to in government. I should not individualise beyond noting that new Bendigo Rep Lisa Chesters was singularly impressive when she presented to my favourite monthly escape. And while the explosion of $PUP and other small parties appears to have been at the cost of Green first prefs, Janet Rice and Adam Bandt performed strongly while preference flows ultimately salvaged their excellent senators in WA and SA. And there were other pluses but listing them isn't my main aim here.
Unfortunately the state of play with the East West Link nonsense outweighs all that, even more so at a personal level where it combines my driving current interests in transport planning and community engagement, the latter somewhat glossed over in the parent, with my lifelong involvement with our Creek. By fortuitous timing, my decision to allow a self-experiment with Twitter addiction could not have been a better fit, as it is providing the primary channel between most of the disparate collective who are determined not to let this one get away. I'm not quite ready to take the time to lay out the case in detail here as this post is also in part to celebrate another successful anti spam action here.
The most immediate issue is that there remains a significant rump of uninformed opinion who have swallowed the nonsensical idea that it is actually going to happen, maybe in part because there are so many strong arguments against that many have stopped listening and accepted the doubtless partially true point that some of the arguments are NIMBY. (Royal Park West is a lot more valuable than anybody's backyard, but I digress.) What it has most forced me to do is reexamine where I am coming from and see whether that provides any insights about the way ahead.
Unlike many of the Govts I'm Agin, including on this item Kelvin, I don't see virtue in trying to further deepen the moat around Australia. I have always liked good smart development projects, from four stages of expanding the clubrooms at Lebanon Reserve thru to Sydney's Cross City Tunnel and our own rapidly advancing Regional Rail Link. The problems I see are two fold. A massive gap has been allowed to develop in urban planning since the demise of the MMBW, an organisation I was familiar enough with in younger days through the eyes of my grandfather's plumbing business. That gap has left the Govts devoid of relevant expertise and the consultants they have come to rely on have very limited skill sets, even worse the policy promoters at the likes of Australian Industry Group. This is not to say there are not a smattering of well intention and locally competent people within these organisations, but at the biggest and smallest-grained levels in particular the only real thinking is out in the broader community, hence my priority on improving community engagement.
Between the massive assaults on Royal Park West/Moonee Ponds Creek and the well practiced grounds for concern and resistance at the City of Yarra end, we too easily lose track of the total. Before recent news of the impending second bankruptcy of Cross City Tunnel, nobody had noted that #EWfail is proposed to cost ten times as much for the same projected benefit: 80,000 vehicles per day saving a few minutes each. Despite theirs making more sense, Sydney has achieved less than half that target. Regardless, the cost supported by two levels of Liberal fiasco works out to be $100,000 per potential daily beneficiary, or twice that if they mostly make return journeys. Absurd!