We thank Clifford Hayes, Legislative Council Member for Southern Metropolitan) for presenting to the Legislative Council on March 23 the petition opposing the construction of the North East Link. When presenting it he made the following comments which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlEWsz4x3SI.
“I am standing up today to show my support to my residents and other residents of Victoria in their petition requesting the government to cease works on its North East Link Program due to severe environmental and economic concerns. This North East Link is a $16 billion project, but we need to understand how big this really is. We could build homes for or pay for the accommodation of every homeless person in Victoria with it. We could minimise the harm done by poker machines and gambling addiction. We could provide infrastructure for renewable power, including safer underground powerlines, and reduce the risk of catastrophic bushfires with such money. To spend $16 billion in this way reflects misplaced priorities.
“Speaking on the environment, I am most disturbed at the extent of vegetation removal permitted by this project. The North East Link will spell the end of 25 000 trees. It will remove 150 patches of native vegetation spread over 52 hectares of land. I cannot put my hand up to give the okay to vegetation destruction on such a massive scale. It makes a nonsense of the government’s claim to have green credentials.
“Finally, I want to point out to the government that the pandemic was a game changer in terms of public policy. The dynamic and ever-changing environment brought about by COVID has led to substantial changes in commuting, with more Victorians working from home and off the roads. We do not need this sort of project. We need thoughtful and carefully planned infrastructure designed to best support the real needs of our community. This project certainly does not reflect that. I completely support and share the concerns of my residents on this issue and would like to strongly urge the government to review the project in size and scope.”
Published 4 April 2022.