What We Do

What is our campaign 'No Freeway through Banyule' about?

Following the State Government's announcement in December 2008 that it was going to build a freeway/tollway connecting from the Western Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway, representatives from the community formed Friends of Banyule.

Friends of Banyule is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to the protection of the natural spaces in our community that are threatened by the proposed freeway/tunnel/viaduct.  In 2011, the newly elected State Government has indicated that it will continue to seek funding for the proposed Feasibility Study for the NE Link.

A map of the proposed freeway/tunnel/viaduct that was published in the Victorian Transport Plan is on the following link on the VicRoads website  

 

Is Friends of Banyule affiliated with other groups?

Friends of Banyule has formed a coalition with other like-minded groups such as Warringal Conservation Society, Protectors of Public Lands and the Coalition of Transport Action Groups

We have come together to campaign to protect such places that include Banyule Flats, Warringal Parklands, Yarra Flats and Bolin Bolin Billabong. These spaces comprise a major north-south wildlife corridor in Banyule and surrounding areas.

Future-banyule-flats

An Artist's Impression - by Carol James

Why are we campaigning against the freeway/tunnel/viaduct?

  • The freeway/tunnel/viaduct will do nothing to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Global Warming  
  • We need to support a modal shift by helping to improve our local public transport network and thereby reducing dependance on private car use  
  • Building more roads will not solve congestion problems in local areas (as evidenced by studies done around the world and closer to home, reports available on the recently completed East Link freeway/tunnel)  
  • The freeway/tunnel/viaduct and its construction will cause loss of amenities to existing parkland
  • Twelve (12) storey, 30 metre exhaust vents will need to be built every 800m to 1km
  • The freeway/tunnel/viaduct will serve largely as a freight connection which does little for resolving traffic congestion on local roads 
  • The freeway/tunnel/viaduct will geographically divide our community and result in local residents having more difficulty in accessing public services and amenities such as schools, shops and transport  
  • With a price tag currently estimated at $6 billion dollars in 2008, there are cheaper and more sustainable transport solutions for our area

 

Why protect Banyule & Yarra Flats, Warringal Parklands and Bolin Bolin Billabong?

Our local parklands hold significant environmental, cultural, historical and artistic significance (eg. the Heidelberg School of painters).

A copy of our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is also available for download here in PDF format. 

 Threatened-by-the-NE-Link

In an age of shrinking backyards and an ever-increasing urbanised metropolis such as Melbourne, these natural spaces are much more than sanctuaries for our native wildlife and remnant flora - they are places for individuals, families and groups to play, have festivals, relax and sometimes to simply enjoy the wildlife and flora that exist in these spaces. These places have important cultural and social significance, and they need our protection. Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution further strengthen the argument that building more freeways is not the right direction to take.

Our aim is to give our natural spaces a voice, and to lobby State, Federal and Local governments to protect them for wildlife, for our community and for future generations, and to propose sustainable transport options rather than freeways.

 

 

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Meetings & Submissions in 2011

Meetings with Politicians in 2011
VEAC Submission


 

Meeting with Public Transport & Roads Minister Terry Mulder

None of us have clarity on the Ballieu government's stand on the North East Link and have therefore requested a meeting with the new Minister for Public Transport and Roads, Terry Mulder. We are concerned that the North East Link is still on the planning board with the new government as they expressed during their election campaign that they would 'look at all options and potentially a feasibility study' for the North East Link. We will keep you updated on any further news.   We would also encourage you to send letters to the Minister for Public Transport and Roads directly as residents, outlining your concerns about this potential freeway.   Please find below the relevant address details.

Hon Terry Mulder

Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Roads

Level 16, 121 Exhibition Street

Melbourne, VIC

 

Note : Friends of Banyule is also seeking a meeting with Terry Mulder on the status for the North East Link - stay tuned for updates

 

Meeting with Planning Minister Matthew Guy

We have also requested a meeting with the new Planning Minister, Matthew Guy along with Planning Backlash Victoria. Since the implementation of the Major Transport Projects Facilitations Act in 2009, greater powers have been bestowed upon the Planning Minister. This results in little or no opportunity for communities to have any meaningful input or the ability to take any action against inappropriate development once the project has been declared 'a major infrastructure project'. It is imperative therefore to also meet with the Planning Minister on the issue of the North East Link. We will also keep you informed in relation to this important meeting.


 

VEAC Submission

On November 30, 2010 Friends of Banyule attended the Ivanhoe Community forum on the Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation Discussion Paper from the Victorian Environment Assessment Committee (VEAC). The VEAC investigation is one of the most important reviews of Public Land in Victoria and the future of Public Land could be decided by this Committee.

On January 10, 2011 Friends of Banyule made a detailed submission to the Victorian Environmental   Assessment Council as part of their Metropolitan Melbourne investigation for Public Land. The submission focuses on the proposed North East Link Freeway, the subsequent destruction of existing public open space and parklands and their importance for protection of the environment, flora and fauna, our culture and community well-being. Click on the following link for a PDF download of the Friends of Banyule VEAC Submission.

Protest Meeting held outside Labor Candidate's office on 16 November 2010

Our protest meeting outside Anthony Carbines office attraced a lot of media attention.  

Click on his link to watch a Video of the rally posted on the Heidelberg Leader's website

 

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Friends of Banyule organised the rally to protest against the Brumby government's fialings to invest inpublic transport and the election promise of $15.4 million to study the $6 Billion Dollar freeway.

"The proposed road is so expensive it will need a toll to finance it. The truck drivers who use streets like Rosanna Road to avoid the CityLink toll will also refuse to pay a toll to use the North East Link. In addition, we tend to forget that cars and trucks have to leave freeways to access their final destinations. This freeway will have big interchanges at Manningham Road and Lower Plenty Road, which will increase traffic levels compared with the present..." RMIT Public Transport Academic, Dr. Paul Mees says.

The Brumby government's is failing to adequately plan for Melbourne's increasing population, including addressing vital bus services improvements for the Banyule area in the form of a SmartBus 'standard service' with increased frequency, a coordination of train and bus service schedules and the duplication of the Hurstbridge railway line.

Public transport network planning is currently non-existent and the recent extension of the Urban Growth Boundary with areas growing by over 1 Million over the next 10 years will be putting even greater strains on our roads. Public transport is a necessity but has been totally neglected for the past 11 years.

The Brumby Government has been pushing the NE Link as necessary for freight movement but that is why CityLink was built. There are many trucks travelling along routes like Rosanna Road to avoid paying the CityLink toll. The solution for this is simple: introduce a curfew for trucks and trucks should be forced to travel via CityLink and pay the toll - the government should focus on getting freight onto rail. Our parklands, our health and our community are under threat by this freeway monster. It will destroy one of Melbourne's historical and ecologically most sensitive areas in the Inner East

 

Friends of Banyule Public Meeting held on 6 October a GREAT SUCCESS

                        Full House 2Meeting to oppose Freeway

The Public Meeting held in The Great Hall at The Centre, Ivanhoe on Wednesday night 6 October 2010, was a fantastic event with nearly 600 people coming to hear our Guest Speakers.  

We would like to thank everyone who came along to hear our Speakers - Dr. Paul Mees, Darren Peters and Kenneth Davidson.  
A special thank you goes to Rod Quantock, our MC for the night, our Guest Speakers and Marion Ware, President of Friends of Banyule for her opening address, as well as Ross Spirou who provided the wonderful photos of The Banyule Flats for the slide presentation.

Friends of Banyule would also like to thank the candidates from political parties who attended  and participated :  Paul Kennedy (Greens), Carl Ziebell (Liberal), and Anthony Carbines (Labour). Our first Guest Speaker, Dr. Paul Mees, from RMIT University, gave an overview of the lack of planning and investment by successive State governments in Melbourne's public transport system.  He provided solutions from 'best of breed' transport systems in European cities and showed us how Zurich's Public Transport system is the best in the world with only a small population - it is due to excellent management and planning.  We now know that there are resources that can make this work in Melbourne and work well.   

Dr. Paul Mees also advised us to use FOI (Freedom of Information) as much as possible, as our governments are being much less than transparent... that for Banyule, both 'long' & 'short' tunnel options are on the planning table by VicRoads at the very least... we should be very concerned about an above-ground freeway option also.   Darren Peters from the South Merang & Mernda Rail Alliance, spoke about the results that could be accomplished by citizens who form strong & cohesive community groups and work passionately to influence the government to change.   After years of broken promises by the incumbent governments, his group has been very successful in changing government policy.  He reminded us that the government is there to serve the interests of its constituents, not the corporate purse and our campaign can be successful with enough will and suppport.


Kenneth Davidson , The Age Writer and Co-editor of the magazine Dissent, spoke about the political machinations behind the Government's transport policy, the vested interests and the bulldozer mentality of VicRoads - which he described as an unrestrained QANGO.   During the Q & A session, our political representatives were asked to clarify their position on the proposed North-East Link freeway/tunnel/viaduct...

Anthony Carbines (Labour) advised that he supported the tunnel option but not an above-ground freeway. Many people in the crowd took issue with this, saying that such a project could easily degenerate into an above-ground freeway for part or all of the route.

Carl Ziebell (Liberals) advised that his party would not commit to a freeway or tunnel - that both options were 'off the table'  until more investigation was done.  No firm commitments could be given either way.

Paul Kennedy (Greens) spoke out against the building of the North-East Link - that it was an unnecessary as there were plenty of more cost effective/alternative options to provide relief for Banyule residents at much less cost to taxpayers.  In short, their plan as follows :

  • Stop trucks using Rosanna Road altogether
  • Duplication of the Hurstbridge railway line to increase train frequency
  • SmartBus standards for Banyule to increase frequency and improve routes

To everyone who donated to our cause, bought 'No Freeway through Banyule' signs, joined our Member base on the night or is planning to do so, a HUGE THANK YOU. We operate on a 'shoe-string' budget with kind donations & memberships fees ($15.00 per annum) from Members & Friends and we NEED YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT !

Would you like to see more photos from the night ?  - they are on our Friends of Banyule Facebook webpage.


Rally and Update on the VC67 Ammendment before Parliament  (posted 25 June 2010)

On 22nd June members of Friends of Banyule, the Green Wedges Coalition and affiliated groups, attended a Rally onthe steps of Parliament organised by Protectors of Public Lands (PPL), to protest against the VC67 Planning Scheme amendment.

The Rationale for Rally was :
It is expected that, at this next sitting of Parliament commencing on 22 June 2010, Planning Minister Madden will be putting a resolution to the Upper House for ratification of VC 67 Planning Amendment.  This is to approve extension of Melbourne's urban growth boundary involving alienation of Green Wedges and will also increase density (Government lingo for high rise) of residential development, including along tram and bus routes. 

This amendment to the Planning Scheme would open up approximately 43,00 hectres of environmentally sensitive Green Wedge woodland, grassland and productive farmland surrounding Melbourne to development. It would also apply the new (only partially amended) Growth Areas Infrasrucure Tax, as well as allowing as of right now, high rise development along tram, bus and light rail routes as well as around staions, with little or no local input or avenue of appeal.

David Trenerry was MC and made an excellent speech on VC 67 as did Brian Walters SC of PPL Vic.  Other speakers included: Colleen Hartland MP - Greens, David Davis MP for the Coalition, Clifford Hayes - Concerned Councillors Coalition, Rosemary West - Green Wedges Coalition, Brian Walsh -Planning Backlash (in Mary Drost's absence) and Gillian Collins of Save our Bushland Heritage. Various groups including FOB sent messages of support which were read out.  

Channel 7 ran an item on the evening news and The Age published a number of letters from Green Wedges members. This matter needs to be kept before the public as it has wide ramifactions for Green Wedges as well as planning accross the State.

Some rally participants attended the Upper House of Parliament to hear Planning Minister Madden move - "That pursuant to section 46AH of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, Amendment VC67 to the Victoria Planning Provisions be ratified." It is understood Mathew Guy, Shadow Plannning Minister, moved an amendment to exclude Clause 12 relating to high rise development along tram, bus and light rail routes plus train stations. 

The matter was adjourned as the Speaker deemed it necessary to refer it for expert legal opinion. Greg Barber of the Greens party gave notice of a motion to refer VC67 to a Committee.   More information/speeches are available at  www.parliament.vic.gov.au   

VC67 may not be raised until the next sitting of Parliament on 27 July. Further details will be posted on  Protectors of Public Lands website.

 

 

Yarra River Action Alliance     (posted 4 Jun 10)

The Yarra River Action Alliance have come together out of concern for the major development that is occurring on and around the river in the City of Yarra. The Alliance is rapidly growing in size as other people and groups emerge with similar issues and concerns.

The Yarra River Action Alliance appreciate the need for urban growth in order to meet the future needs of metropolitan Melbourne, but the land on the Yarra River is a precious and finite resource, and we are against any inappropriate or irresponsible development on its banks. The river is our heritage and we need to preserve it for future generations.  A video is available on the Vimeo website (register to view videos)  http://www.vimeo.com/11110109 .    Sign their online petition at http://yarrariveractionalliance.com/?page_id=111.

Dear Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. (PPL VIC) Members and Friends    
 
PPL VIC and Yarra River Action Alliance are appealing at VCAT.  As legal costs are astronomical (the case will go for a week or so altogether ) we are mounting an appeal for assistance. Donations can be made by direct payment to a specially designated MECU bank account  - Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. Fighting Fund  BSB 803 140 Account No 12012290.  For enquiries ring MECU on 132888. Or send to PPL VIC PO Box 197 Parkville 3052 with details of name and address. We need this as at the end of the case if we have a balance of funds we can refund donors. Website at   http://yarrariveractionalliance.com/       
 
Regards Julianne Bell Secretary PPL VIC 4 June 2010

 

Update from the 2nd Save Our Bush Alliance (S.O.B.A.) Rally - June 2010  (posted 4 June 2010)

The Rally was held on 2 June outside the Transport Forum at Crown Conference Centre and attended by a small but dedicated and enthusiastic group. There were lots of banners and placards and a vocal chant calling for no more freeways.   Those across the road at the Transport Forum were in no doubt of our views and what we were there for. A police and security contingent directly outside the centre almost outnumbered those protesting.
 
The Rally was organized by the Save Our Bush Alliance (SOBA). MC was Gillian Collins of Pines Protectors and other attendees/speakers included Dee Anne Kelly Greens Frankston, Sue Pnnicuick Greens MP (Southern Metropolitan), Damon Anderson Save Coomoora Reserve, Rosemary West Green Wedges Coalition and myself (Dennis O'Connell), filling in for Marion on behalf of Friends of Banyule.  For a copy of Friends of Banyule's speech click here
 
There were some excellent and quite passionate speeches made by some obviously very committed and motivated members of the various groups. A media presence across the road recorded some footage of the rally which will hopefully give us some air time.
 
To our surprise, Roads Minister Tim Pallas, accepted an invitation to come across the road and address the Rally directly. A motion from the Rally in opposition to the Peninsular Link Freeway but suggesting options including upgraded public transport for the area, was put to Mr. Pallas. Some of the attendees, especially from Save the Pines and Willow Bank Road/Pobblebank Nature Reserve strongly put their case to the Minister, that bulldozers had already gone into these reserves destroying animals and wild life which were not able to be removed to a safe shelter or other reserve prior to the bulldozers going in. The Minister while stating that construction of the Freeway would  proceed, indicated that he was concerned about what the meeting had conveyed to him and believed the above damage to wild life should not have occurred. He advised that he would undertake to find out why this had happened and why the contractors had not put measures in place to prevent it occurring now and in future. We will have to wait and see whether the Minister is as good as his word.

soba Rally 2_2    Tim Pallas addressing the Rally

 
Soba Rally 2_1

Photos from the Banyule Festival held in March 2010

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"What I love about my park" - paintings by local school children

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S.O.B.A. Rally

Thank you to all our members and supporters who attended the Save Our Bush Rally   and Bush Funeral on the steps of Parliament House on February 24, 2010. It was great to join forces with other groups such as Friends of Pines Flora and Fauna, Save Coomoora Reserve Coalition and the Green Wedges Coalition, who are all fighting against the destruction of the native bushland and parks by freeways. We had a lot of media in attendance and turnout was good.  

Click on this link to our President's speech at the Rally (PDF download). 

For more information on the SOBA Rally, click on this link (PDF with active links)

 SOBA 3

SOBA 4

 SOBA 2

SOBA 1

 

 

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