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At Noon on Sunday 8th of October, the South Morang Rail Alliance
conveined a rally in protest at the broken 1999 Government promise to
extend rail services to South Morang by 2003. Over 100 people were in
attendance to hear from State Election Candidates and South Morang Rail
Alliance Spokesman, Darren Peters in regard to the issue.
Mr Peters spoke of the community disgust at being lied to and then
insulted by being told that the extension will occur in 2021. He said
the lie had caused people to purchase houses in the local area under
false pretenses as real estate agents were informing the prospective
buyers that the line would be built by 2003. He spoke of the struggle
young families now have as they need to have 2 or more cars for their
family and for work. He damned Peter Batchelor (Thomastown), Danielle
Green (Yan Yean) and Lily D’Ambrosio (Mill Park) by using their own
newspaper quotes against them to support the extension of the rail. He
called for all parties to state their policy and for the rail line to be
Mayor of the City of Whittlesea John Fry said Council had done all
the necessary planning for the rail extension and want it now. He said
that Council support the Government policy of transit cities, he just
now wanted the Government to support it.
Member for Mill Park, Ms Lily D’Ambrosio was shouted down with
whistles and boos from the angry crowd as all she could do was to read
from a prepared statement explaining that buses were sufficient for the
area. Members of the crowd cried we don't want a bus, we want a train!
Why wont you listen to us? but this was ignored by Ms D'Ambrosio. Asked
what the Labor Party policy was for the building of the rail extension,
the reply of 2021 was met with the crowd roaring their disapproval and
she was jeered from the stage.
Liberal candidate for Yan Yean Aneta Ivanovski spoke of how Bracks
had ignored the seats of Yan Yean and Mill Park, claiming that we were
ignored for the rail extension due to the fact Labor thought they were
safe seats. When asked what the Liberal Policy was, she stated that
Liberal did not have a policy finalised and will announce their
transport policy soon.
Greens candidate for Northern Metro and former Mayor of the City of
Yarra, Mr Paul Barber commented that of all the rail extension needed in
the state that the South Morang Rail extension was the easiest to
achieve because the land was still owned by Victrack and all that needs
to happen is for the tracks to be laid. Mr Barber not only committed his
party to extending the rail line to South Morang, but also to Mernda and
Mr Brian Mahwinney, candidate for People Power expressed the dire
need to build the extension for people moving into the area such as, the
elderly, youth, disabled and city based employees. He stated that we
need to stand up against the government and show them that we won't
accept being lied to, and we should support candidates who would
impliment the extension as soon as possible.
PTUA spokesman Phil Bourke pointed to a display board that showed how
the authorities in Perth could build a 70 km train line for $422 million
when the Victorian Government claims it will cost $240 million for the
South Morang Rail Extension which only will go 5 kms. He explained that
the population would increase from 127,000 to 171,888 by 2021 and that
these new residents would have no alternative but to use a car, choking
the roads with congestion and poluting exhaust gas.
Mr Peters concluded the rally by stating that “…with 38,000
people moving in over the next 10 years, and the 30,000 plus people
already in the catchment area, we need the rail extension now, not in
2021 as promised by the Bracks Government.