Nearly a year ago to the day, the Premier, John Brumby was asked about plans for how the RRL line will make its way through the Footscray corridor. That was on the day of the "ground breaking works" at Southern Cross Station. (Extract of doorstop interview with John Brumby on 26 August 2009, by Clay Lucas of the Age)
CL: "Mr Brumby you are going to from here to Werribee with this rail line, how are you going to get through Footscray?"
JB: "Ah, according to the plans that are developed."
CL: "Are you going to go under Footscray?"
JB: "Well, all those plans will be developed as we go to tender."
CL: "So the project is starting today but you don't know how you are going to get this train line through Footscray?"
JB: "Well, we've made all of those things very clear in the transport plan."
CL: "You haven't. There is no plan to get it through Footscray, so can you tell us how it going to get through that section of rail?"
JB: "We will release all of the plans at the appropriate time."
We are still waiting for the plans to appear. Only after putting our request for information directly to the Minister did we finally receive any written information at all on the intended route and impacts of the RRL. We got a map showing an 'indicative' track alignment and no alignment options or placement rationale, and a thin 'FAQ' booklet - less than 10 pages, ten days before the close of submissions and a long way short of anything like a clear set of plans.
In contrast, the first part of the RRL project - the Werribee to Deer Park section - saw eleven detailed reports produced before the public consultation phase (1,258 pages in total). The Flora and Fauna Assessment alone ran to 112 pages.
Back in Footscray, we've had no track alignment options put to us and we've certainly not been presented with any rationale for the current 'indicative' alignment - as rubbery as it is. The Department continues to make it up as they go along, choosing the alignment on-the-fly with enormous ramifications for the number of houses saved or lost in the process.
It's sad to realise that Footscray residents rate lower in the eyes of the Government and the Dept of Transport than the flora and fauna of the Western plains.
See: Index and summary and full set of 11 documents for RRL Werribee to Deer Park stage.
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