Since September 2013 residents of Melbourne’s inner north have been engaging in a highly successful campaign of flying picket lines and direct action against a proposed toll road that is touted as the largest current infrastructure project in the world. The $8 billion East-West toll road will be a social, environmental and financial disaster if it is allowed to go ahead. It will demolish and divide a vibrant community, carve through one of Melbourne’s largest public parks and suck away all funding for much-needed public transport infrastructure and jobs. The Victorian state government came to power at the last election promising not to build the road, but to fix public transport. Now it is trying to lock in construction contracts for its friends in the road and oil lobbies five minutes before an election it looks likely to lose.
Growing from an initiative of the Socialist Party (CWI in Australia) the #TunnelPicket campaign has gone from strength to strength. Picketers have been targeting test drilling operations that are required for the project to be costed for contract. Major companies bidding for the contract and the responsible government agency have also been targeted by pickets. The pro-toll road press reports that the police have spend at least $1.65 million to combat the pickets. Multiple editorials and front pages of Melbourne’s daily Murdoch paper, the Herald Sun, have been devoted to vicious and scurrilous slander of picketers and their brave stand. Mass sympathy exists in Melbourne for the campaign and it’s aim of preventing the toll road’s construction and instead directing funding to environmentally sustainable public transport that can provide more and ongoing jobs.
The following videos are just some of the many that have been produced in the campaign to date.
Follow the twitter hashtag #tunnelpicket or like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EastWestTunnelPledge?fref=ts) to get daily updates.
Here is a video of a speech delivered at the daily pickets by Anthony Main from the Socialist Party (CWI in Australia).
In the video below, Socialist Party councillor Steve Jolly addresses a protest rally at the site.
Here is one of many #Tunnelpicket videos of the daily resistance at the site.