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Proposed motion for next Yarra council meeting


  • The number one environmental problem in Yarra is the huge, and growing, volume of traffic on our roads.
  • Traffic growth is underpinned by the steady expansion of the freeway system and the neglect of alternative transport modes, especially public transport.
  • These transport policies, which hurt Yarra, are the result of powerful lobbying by a well-resourced road lobby which includes Vicroads, the RACV and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
  • Yarra’s transport problems, and the road lobby’s role in them, have been highlighted by recent comments by the head of the Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority, who has confirmed that the extension of the Eastern Freeway (aka Mitcham – Frankston Freeway) will create traffic chaos at our end of the freeway, and lead to pressure to extend the Eastern Freeway through Yarra.
  • Council acknowledges that it has not done enough to counter this powerful, determined road lobby. Our actions have been piecemeal and modest in scale. We have been too willing to ‘play by the rules’ and reluctant to ‘rock the boat’. We have not worked with community activists seeking to challenge the road lobby’s agenda.
  • The transport situation is urgent. Our community is under attack from the road lobby. Council resolves to change its tactics and adopt an aggressive, pro-active approach, as follows:

1. Transport policy

  • Yarra opposes the extension of the Eastern Freeway to Frankston (aka Mitcham – Frankston Freeway) and the proposed extension of the Eastern Freeway through Yarra to the Tullamarine Freeway.
  • Yarra calls for a moratorium on freeways in Melbourne until public transport, walking and cycling have been improved to an acceptable level, such improvements to be funded from diverted road funding.
  • Yarra calls for the re-establishment of public control over public transport to permit expansion, improvement and integration of a multi-modal system offering ‘go anywhere, anytime’ convenience.
  • Yarra calls for a restructure of road planning agencies and processes to break the power of the road lobby.

2. Transport policy priority

  • Acting on the above policy, and in particular stopping the Mitcham – Frankston Freeway, will be Council’s first priority, and will have first call on council resources. Council directs the CEO to adjust the budget, staffing, publicity and work programs of council accordingly.
  • Up to 1% of 2004/5 expenditure will be reallocated to acting on the above policy.
  • Council hereby establishes a Transport Policy Committee (TPC), comprised of seven members as follows:
    • Councillors ***** and ****
    • A representative nominated by Friends of the Earth
    • A representative nominated by the Public Transport Users Association
    • A representative nominated by Friends of Merri Creek
    • A representative nominated by Campaign for a Better City
    • The CEO.
  • The role of the TPC is to advise Council and the CEO on the implementation of this resolution.

3. Restructuring council administration

Council directs the CEO to:

  • Reform the City’s administrative structure by abolishing the Transport Planning unit (part of ‘Infrastructure’ branch of ‘Asset Management’) and the ‘Strategic Transport’ unit (part of ‘Urban Planning’ in ‘City Development’). These units have failed to give policy advice that would have enabled Council to effectively respond to the road lobby.
  • Establish a new Transport Policy unit with new staff selected for their expertise in campaigning and advocating for transport policy change. Because most of Council’s current staff have little experience in this area, the CEO is to follow the advice of the TPC in establishing this unit.
  • The unit is charged with preparing and implementing a sustainable transport campaign plan and budget for the two years leading up to the 2006 state election.
  • This plan shall include building and resourcing an anti-freeway/pro-sustainable transport coalition, comprising Yarra, other on-side councils (if any) and individual councillors, community groups and environment groups.
  • The plan will also incorporate pro- pedestrian, cyclist and public transport measures within Council’s direct control, including the removal of unnecessary anti-pedestrian barriers, such as those obstructing the tram stops at the Brunswick/Johnston Street and Swan/Church Street corners.

4. Resignation from MAV

  • Council resolves to resign from Municipal Association of Victoria, with immediate effect, as it does not wish to continue to support the road lobby.
  • Council directs the CEO to write to the MAV informing them of this decision and the reasons for it, seeking a refund of any outstanding dues and indicating that Council would consider re-joining MAV if the organization changed its transport priorities.
  • Council resolves to retain its membership of the Victorian Local Governance Association, but press for that organisation to take a more aggressive stand against the road lobby and in favour of sustainable transport.

5. Leading by example

Council directs the CEO to prepare, for the next meeting, a feasibility report on abolishing the mayoral car, banning cars being included in salary packages for future staff appointments and reducing the size of council’s car fleet.

6. Immediate action on urgent issues

Some of the actions set out above will take time to implement, but there is an urgent need to act, particularly against the Mitcham-Frankston Freeway. Council therefore resolves to:

  • Immediately establish a transport campaigning fund of $100,000
  • Authorise the TPC to disburse the whole or part of the fund to community activist groups and individuals for work against the Mitcham-Frankston Freeway, including (but not limited to):
    • employing campaign workers and/or consultants
    • preparing and distributing campaign materials
    • supporting legal challenges
    • polling
    • paid media advertising.
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Last Modified: 8 November 2004