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Robert Clark MP
Member for Box Hill, Parliament of Victoria
Member for Box Hill, Parliament of Victoria
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Extraordinary. The Andrews government has suddenly scrapped a key community consultation forum on its proposed bike path route from Laburnum to Blackburn station.

The cancellation follows sustained resident criticism of the government’s lack of consultation and unjustified tree clearances at a forum on the Blackburn bike path section earlier this week.

The government’s southern route bike path through Laburnum threatens the loss of 40 additional trees along South Parade, with trees in Elmore Walk and the Laburnum Station parkland also at risk. The route could also see an end to car parking along the northern side of Laburnum Street.

What is happening in Blackburn and Laburnum seems to part of pattern across Melbourne, with huge numbers of trees being cut down for rushed projects without consultation or explanation.

It can be unavoidable at times to remove some trees for important community projects, but instead of consulting, explaining and seeking to minimize tree losses, the government’s policy seems to be “cut down first, sort out the consequences later”.

With next Tuesday’s forum cancelled, residents need to tell the government directly what they think about the government’s handling of the crossing removal and bike path, by emailing Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan, at jacinta.allan@parliament.vic.gov.au, Roads Minister, Luke Donnellan, at luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au and Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, at richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au, and copying me in at robert.clark@parliament.vic.gov.au.

Residents can also register support for the campaign to save Blackburn from this destruction at blackburnsolution@gmail.com. For more about the campaign, see www.facebook.com/theblackburnsolution.

For the VicRoads page on the government’s bike path proposal, see http://bit.ly/29He78O.
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Blackburn residents this week called for an end to the devastation being caused by the government’s handling of the Blackburn rail project.

At a packed meeting on Wednesday at the Whitehorse Council offices, residents grilled VicRoads and LXRA officials about the government’s bike path route decision and the loss of up to 450 trees.

Unfortunately, the explanations were long on process and short on detail. The bottom line seemed to be “Even if we didn’t consult with you properly, we would still be doing it the same anyway.”.

The meeting comes as further trees have been cut down without explanation on South Parade, with most of the remaining Blackburn Village trees near and west of the station underpass still under threat, and the future of Laburnum Street and Elmore Walk unclear.

The crossing removal and bike path should be being done with proper planning and consultation, so they provide lasting benefits, not needless destruction and lost opportunities, such as not widening the station underpass.

I’ve urged the Ministers for Public Transport, Roads and Planning to visit Blackburn to see for themselves the harm they are causing and to act to end it.

Residents can send the same message to the government by emailing jacinta.allan@parliament.vic.gov.au, luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au and richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au, and copying me in at robert.clark@parliament.vic.gov.au.

Residents can also register support for the campaign to save Blackburn from this destruction, at blackburnsolution@gmail.com. For more about the campaign, see www.facebook.com/theblackburnsolution.

For the VicRoads page on the government’s bike path proposal, see http://bit.ly/29He78O.
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Not only has Blackburn lost huge numbers of magnificent trees as part of the level crossing removal project, the government is now proposing to cut down most of Blackburn Village’s remaining trees for a bike path.

The government just don’t seem to know or care about the devastation they are causing to Blackburn Village by taking away the green, tree-lined outlook that makes it so attractive.

Unbelievably, all but a handful of the South Parade trees and shrubs near to and west of the station subway are proposed to be cut down, all the way to the far end of the commuter car parking opposite the IGA.

The government’s proposed bike path route could also see the removal of car parking spaces along the north side of Laburnum Street, as well as possible tree removals in Elmore Walk and the Laburnum station parkland.

The government needs to get the message that what they are proposing is just not acceptable.

You can register your support for the residents’ campaign to save Blackburn from this destruction, at blackburnsolution@gmail.com. for more about the campaign, see www.facebook.com/theblackburnsolution.

For the VicRoads page on the government’s bike path proposal, see http://bit.ly/29He78O.
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It’s great to see the re-elected Turnbull government committed to getting on with amending the Fair Work Act to protect the CFA, just as they said they would.

For the Herald Sun's full report earlier this week, see http://bit.ly/29BnRCA.
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Bill Shorten and Daniel Andrews need to listen. Throwing away $1.1 billion to NOT build a road - leaving motorists stuck in traffic for years to come - is a disgrace.

It's no wonder voters made their feelings known at the Federal election, as the recent Herald Sun report at http://bit.ly/29CbsO3 shows.

As Alan Tudge MP rightly says "“People are very angry about the cancellation of the project, They’re angry $1.1 billion was wasted, they’re angry they’re sitting in traffic and they’re angry about the 7000 jobs that won’t be there."
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The secret negotiations revealed by the Herald Sun today show Premier Andrews knew there were big problems with Fair Work's recommended CFA deal at the same time he was out there telling volunteers there was nothing in the deal for them to worry about.

It also shows that, while Mr Andrews was saying he backed the CFA deal because the "independent umpire", Commissioner Roe, recommended it, he was actually having secret negotiations to try to change it behind the umpire's back.

After these revelations, how can Victorians ever be expected to believe there’s been an independent, impartial process involved here, rather than a determination by Mr Andrews to give the UFU control over the CFA no matter what?

For today's Herald Sun report, see http://bit.ly/296RMTR.
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Another tragic loss for the CFA and for Victoria. Chief Fire Officer Joe Buffone has quit because he can't do his job under the control of the CFA that Premier Andrews has handed to the UFU.

Jane Garrett, Lucinda Nolan, Joe Buffone and the entire CFA Board have now all sacrificed their jobs to try to protect the CFA, yet Premier Andrews still won't listen.

For Mr Buffone's full statement of resignation, see http://bit.ly/293HC2d .
CFA’s chief fire officer quits
CFA’s chief fire officer quits
at.theaustralian.com.au
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The chain-sawing of magnificent, decades-old Blackburn trees continues along Morton Park.

Residents have lost all confidence in the Level Crossing Removal Authority after their repeated contradictions, lack of information and inability to give straight answers.

Of course, it can be unavoidable to remove some trees for important community projects like level crossing removals, but the LXRA's policy seems to be “cut down first, sort out the consequences later”.

This comes alongside the government’s continuing refusal to widen Blackburn Station’s narrow, cramped subway, and committing to a southern bike path route that threatens Laburnum Street and Elmore Walk.

In Parliament last week, I urged the Ministers for Public Transport, Roads and Planning to visit Blackburn and see for themselves the harm they are allowing to be inflicted - see http://bit.ly/29hzEVP.

As with Skyrail, what should have been a project the whole community could be pleased with instead threatens to leave Blackburn with scars and lost opportunities that will be with us for decades to come.

To join other residents in campaigning for a better outcome, see www.facebook.com/theblackburnsolution or email blackburnsolution@gmail.com.
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The report in today's The Australin on the UFU’s record of obstructionism and denigration at the MFB shows why the CFA Board, its CEO, and its Minister were all prepared to lose their jobs rather than give the UFU the same powers over the CFA.

From refusing to crew equipment during the Hazelwood mine fire through to black banning trucks at the height of summer and even refusing to allow the MFB to install a new version of Windows on its computers, the UFU’s record shows the harm its veto power has already inflicted on Victoria and the even greater harm it will inflict if the UFU gains control over the CFA.

For The Australian's report, see http://bit.ly/296k143.
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Remember when Labor said there was an ambulance crisis and only they would "fix" it?

Well, it's now been revealed that the average ambulance response time has barely changed under Labor, and many response times have got worse.

The main difference is, the paramedics union have got the big pay rises they were promised, and they're not saying as much these days.

Getting Victoria the best possible ambulance service requires hard work and thoughtful improvements right across the system, not slogans. It requires talking and listening to the entire workforce, but not simply giving the paramedics union whatever they want.

For The Age's report today, see http://bit.ly/290VquK.
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