To Jacinta Allan – Minister for Transport and Infrastructure
Cc: Richard Wynne – Minister for Planning
Cc: Meng Heang Tak – Member for Clarinda
Cc: Mark Dreyfus – Member for Isaacs
I am contacting you regarding a letter I received in the mail from the State Government’s Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) Authority advising that the Pioneer/Delta/Lantrak site in Heatherton is the preferred location for the SRL stabling yards.
This letter comes following the Planning Minister’s recent decision to approve Alex Fraser’s permit extension request.
Green Wedge and surrounding residents are very angry and disappointed by both these decisions and feel betrayed by a government which promised to protect the Kingston Green Wedge and deliver on the Sandbelt Chain of Parks.
As a nearby resident to the proposed stabling yards (I live at <address> which is <where in comparison> this location), I also have a number of concerns regarding this decision.
- Alternative site
I understand that there may be alternative suitable sites in the area, but the government hasn’t provided any assessments on why alternative sites were ruled in or out.
Given the following issues surrounding the project, I call on the State Government to reconsider alternative sites:
- The SRL is unfunded – only $2.2 billion has been set aside to “kickstart” a project which will take decades (factsheet: https://suburbanrailloop.vic.gov.au/Library/Factsheets)
- It is unclear how the State Government can make claims about job creation when there has been no formal feasibility process or business case.
- It is unclear how the State Government can assess all potential sites when, again, there has been no feasibility process or business case.
- Due process
I am also very concerned that decisions with very large repercussions on local communities health, safety and amenity can be made without due process being followed, as was documented in the Victorian Auditor General Report ( https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/follow-managing-level-crossing-removal-program) which found that State Government proceeded with some Level Crossing Projects without:
- Completing a business case
- Knowing the economic benefits
- Completing engineering works and network integrity standards
- Health and safety of the local community
I am also very concerned that the SRL’s preferred site is one of the most poorly managed sand mines and landfill sites in the Kingston Green Wedge. The site has a history of very poor/non-existent oversight and compliance by State Government (State Work Authorities EIL716/WA383). The site is likely to be contaminated with implications for the health and safety of residents and also groundwater and the broader environment if it is disturbed for the purposes of building the stabling yards and associated tunnels.
- A Herald Sun article on this announcement (16/12/2020) states “no methane gas emissions have been detected and no asbestos has been found”. If there are any departmental, SRL or other reports that substantiate these statements these should be made available to the local community given health and safety concerns.
- This stabling yard proposal come after many decades of the community being impacted by dust and dirt from mining and landfill operations, not to mention numerous contamination notices. Once again the health and safety of a community – which for decades has been promised a rehabilitated landscape – has been relegated.
I respectly ask you to reconsider the location of the stabling yards and deliver on your government’s promises to fund the complete Sandbelt Chain of Parks.
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