FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 03, 2010
Residents urge the Minister for Planning to apply appropriate conditions to any RRL planning approvals to ensure protection of residents
Affected residents and traders were concerned, dismayed and alarmed on reading the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) referral and its supplementary assessment reports, to find little or no mention of their key concerns raised through the formal and informal consultations with the Department of Transport (DoT).
Residents and traders went to great effort to produce individual and group submissions for informing the planning processes and the preparation of the EES referral document. Disappointingly group submissions with over forty signatures were disregarded and included in the statistical summary as merely one. The DoT has presented an inaccurate picture of its consultation processes for this project, a picture that does not reflect the actual experience of key stakeholders at the receiving end of the process.
The EES referral failed to address the most important concerns: there is no consideration being provided for the care and wellbeing of long-term residents; and residents being acquired will be forced out of Footscray, as there is no guarantee of adequate compensation. The DoT does not propose to provide noise barriers to control noise emissions from the railway as part of the RRL project; there is no standard of compliance on acceptable levels of pollutants, and; there is no consideration given to compensate small business to their loss of revenue due to lack of access.
We urge the Minister to apply appropriate conditions to the RRL planning approvals to ensure residents and traders are properly protected.
“This is an opportunity for the Victorian State Government to be innovative, creative and responsive and to set standards on world’s best practice that will inform future rail expansion projects, “ says residents’ spokesperson, Kim Hutchinson “It is important to ensure that the project delivers to Footscray the land use and development vision for Footscray that Footscray deserves.”
Friday 3rd September, 2010 : Affected residents are disappointed that the Department of Transport sought advice from a major law firm on ways to limit inquiry into the social, planning and environmental aspects of the RRL project ('Voters shunted on rail project' The Age, Paul Austin, 31 August).
Residents note that the Minister of Transport has created a new Regional Rail Link Authority and the Minister's statement that “the board will include people with strong project management skills and a clear commitment to working with local communities”. Residents are left wondering why these essential skills and commitments are only coming to the RRL project at this late stage.
Residents acted in good faith in consultations with the department, but it appears that our faith was completely misplaced. The track record of the RRL team and the Department of Transport to date does not inspire confidence that they have the intent or the capacity to lift their game.
Affected residents now appeal directly to the Minister for Planning, Justin Madden, to ensure that the proper checks and balances are not swept aside in the Government's haste to implement this project. Many Footscray residents already stand to lose their houses to the the RRL project and these people should not be further punished in the process because the Government and the Department of Transport failed to plan properly.
"Footscray residents are not standing in the way of this project", explains residents' spokesperson, Nick Fahey, "Residents simply want the normal protections and processes to apply - nothing more, nothing less".
Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents
Nothing will stop rail line: Brumby
The Age, Paul Austin, September 1, 2010
Voters shunted on rail project
The Age, Paul Austin August 31, 2010
New authority to oversee regional rail link project
From the Minister for Public Transport Thursday, 26 August 2010
With less than 6 days remaining until the close of public submissions, affected residents are still in the dark about the location of the new tracks.
Footscray, August 13, 2010: In response to the list of 75 questions put to the Minister and the Department of Transport (DoT) by Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents (FFRR) group the Minister made an undertaking to provide a package of written information. The 'information pack' arrived on Monday 9th August.
The pack provides some new information and FFRR welcomes any effort to improve the flow and quality of information coming to us.
However, the information provided fails to address the most important questions: the actual location of the track, alignment options, height of the tracks, noise and vibration impacts, water management, train service frequency, road closures and access disruption, bridge construction information, traffic management, whether those who are not covered by compulsory acquisition and receive an offer for purchase will receive the same rights, likely social impacts and specific details on how and when we will be consulted with - all the information needed to make informed decisions and submissions.
Residents have been urged by the DoT to send written submissions to the Region Rail Link (RRL) project, when they still do not know the position of the track in relation to their homes.
Residents will have been given only 37 days from hearing their houses would go, to the close of submissions.
We believe that DoT failed to undertake sufficient project planning and impacts assessment for the Southern Cross Station to Deer Park RRL stage. This vital information - along with the information provided in the info-pack, should have been provided to residents at the very beginning of the process.
While FFRR welcomes any additional information, we view the info-pack as 'too little and too late'.
DoT conducted a number of individual meetings with affected property owners and several public drop-in sessions. However, at these meetings they provided no written information and the detail provided verbally was generally insufficient and inconsistent to the extent that 60 residents and traders met (28th July) to frame a joint list of 75 questions to put directly to the Minister of Transport. The Minister responded by instructing DoT to prepare an information pack to answer these questions and other concerns. A pack was delivered to households on the 9th August – less than 10 days before close of submissions.
Minister guarantees written information package will be delivered to each affected home early next week but residents still no clearer on future.
Footscray, July 31, 2010: The Minister for Public Transport Martin Pakula attended a crowded meeting of 93 residents and traders affected by the Regional Rail Link Proposal, at the invitation of the 'Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents' group.
The meeting was held on Saturday 31st July, from 12:30 to 2:00pm, at the Footscray Senior Citizens Centre, 130 Buckley Street Footscray.
Affected residents and traders put their questions to the Minister and department officials firmly and passionately, with the respect afforded to invited guests.
The Minister got to hear directly from residents and traders about breakdowns in key project processes - including a general lack of clear, written information, a failure to contact various sub-groups of residents and traders and ongoing ambiguity around project time-lines. Further questions were raised around the issues of acquisition process, ongoing 'liveability' for those not being acquired, and duty-of-care and respect for elderly residents and those with limited English language.
The message to the Minister from those at the meeting is that people are looking for a fair, equitable and respectful process, and that this was not what they were seeing so far.
The overwhelming message from residents facing acquisition is that they were desperately worried about also being forced to move from their community of Footscray. Noriko Tabei, local business owner and resident said “Footscray is our home and we just want to know that this won't all result in us being pushed out altogether".
The Department has requested affected residents and business owners provide submissions by the 19th August to detail their concerns or issues around the Regional Rail Link Project. Residents highlighted the difficulty they had in providing written submissions in the limited time available when they had been provided with so little written information to go on. In response, the Minister instructed the Department to provide a package of written information to affected residents and businesses by early the following week.
The Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents group commends Minister Pakula for attending the meeting to hear people's concerns first-hand. The group welcomes commitments to provide information to residents and traders, but notes the lengthy delay in getting this vital information to the affected people.
An opportunity for the residents impacted by the Regional Rail Link to have questions answered.
Footscray, July 29, 2010: The Minister for Public Transport Martin Pakula has accepted our invitation to attend a group meeting of residents affected by the Regional Rail Link Proposal.
This meeting will be held Saturday 31 July from 12:30 to 2:00pm at the Footscray Senior Citizens Centre, 130 Buckley Street Footscray.
The objective in holding this meeting is to have a chance to learn detailed, accurate and up-to-date information - with all residents being given the opportunity to be in the room hearing the same information.
An independent facilitator will chair the meeting and the residents will have the opportunity to put their questions directly to the Minster.
As this is an opportunity for the residents to meet with the Minister we respectfully request that the media do not attend the meeting, however representatives of the Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents Group and members of the community will be available for comment following the completion of the meeting at 2.00pm.