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Project Uncertainty

posted Jan 11, 2011, 4:32 PM by Site Editor   [ updated Jan 11, 2011, 5:24 PM ]
We first heard about the RRL project and the compulsory acquisition of our homes via the media, and it's through the media again now that we hear that the RRL project may be under review - or not. We are seeing conflicting media reports, with no formal clarification from the Department of Transport or the Minister's office.

The Age newspaper reported on Saturday that, "TWO years and $6 million in taxpayer-funded ads later, the Brumby government's Victorian Transport Plan has been laid to rest by the new state government...All of the major projects put forward in the plan, including a $5 billion metro rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield and a $4.3 billion rail line from the CBD to Werribee, are being re-evaluated." ('Baillieu shelves state transport plan').

Contradicting this, the The Geelong Advertiser reported today that, "THE Baillieu Government is continuing with the controversial Regional Rail Link for V/Line trains despite strong opposition from public transport users. A spokesman for State Transport Minister Terry Mulder said yesterday the $4.4 billion Regional had been funded and would therefore be proceeding." ('Mulder firm on rail plan').

A DoT official contacted FFRR by phone to say that the project will continue and providing a link to the Geelong Advertiser article in support of this view. However, they advised that DoT was not prepared to state this position in writing.

Despite a seemingly endless serious of consultation and process blunders, and endless assurances from government and DoT that they were improving their act, nothing much seems to change. In late August 2010, the previous Transport Minister, Martin Pakula, announced the creation of the new Rail Link Authority, headed up by chairman Peter Watson. Pakula claimed at the time that, "The board will include people with strong project management skills and a clear commitment to working with local communities.” 

From the perspective of Footscray residents, governments, boards, and bureaucrats might come and go, but the blundering continues.