Production Of Documents Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria, Motions – David Davis MP
Mr DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan—Leader of the Opposition) I move: That, in accordance with standing order 11.01, this house requires there to be tabled in the Council by 12 noon on Tuesday, 19 March 2019, a copy of all documents created or referred to by the Andrews Labor government relating to the Toorak Road, Kooyong, level crossing removal project, including but not limited to:
(1) assessments of design options for removing either or both of the nearby Tooronga Road and Glenferrie Road level crossings, including simultaneously or at a later stage;
(2) reports or assessments of all and any consultation with relevant local councils and communities regarding design options;
3) hydrological, engineering and design advice relating to design options; and
(4) sound and vibration attenuation studies, overshadowing impacts on neighbouring properties and assessments of required vegetation removal relating to the government’s preferred design.
This is an important motion. The government has a level crossing removal program that is widely supported in the community, and the level crossing removal program delivers some benefits to the community. But there is always dispute about the best model in a particular location, and Toorak Road is no exception.
The question is: is this the best model and on what basis is the government making that decision? It is my view that the government’s documents on this should be in the public domain. We should be able to see the hydrological studies. We should be able to see the studies that look at traffic flows, we should be able to see the studies that look at the overshadowing and other impacts on local communities and we should be able to see the process that the government has gone through to reach this decision, and that is what this documents motion seeks to do—to use the powers of the chamber to seek those documents.
This should inform the public as well as this chamber as it proceeds on a number of these matters. The then Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said last year that the Toorak Road level crossing was one on which there would be consultation with Stonnington and the community. That has not been the case, and the mayor has made that clear. I know that to be the case because I have spoken to a number of the officials and others at the council, and I have spoken to many in the community. I have in the last week heavily surveyed the community; I sent out thousands of surveys in recent days to seek the view of the community on this exact matter. I have had many, many hundreds of responses to those surveys. There is of course a range of different views, but universally the community is clear that they were not consulted on this matter and they think they should have been. That, I think, is not an unreasonable contention.
If government is to undertake major infrastructure work, it needs to do so with a weather eye to the future. These level crossing removal projects are major projects that have an impact on the surrounding area for decades and decades and decades to come. Taking time to consult the community is a sensible way to go because you actually get a better outcome. That is the right way in which these things ought to be conducted, and it is for that purpose that I am seeking these documents. I think that they ought to be in the public domain.
The Premier made some intemperate comments in recent days and, in a sense, sort of slapped down the mayor of the City of Stonnington, making clear to him that he was not going to be consulted because he was not putting any money into the project. I make the point that it is Victorian taxpayers money. Stonnington taxpayers are contributing to these projects, including this one. But even aside from that point, I just would have thought it was in the interests of the community more broadly to get the very best outcomes in terms of these major projects.
If you are spending often hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, you do actually want to get the very best outcome possible. That is why I have brought this motion today, and given the urgency with which this is proceeding we need to see those documents as quickly as is feasibly possible. I seek the support of the chamber to achieve that.