Preview of Week 6: The final lap

By Andrew Herington.

The East West Link Hearings enter their last full week today with 138 submissions due to be heard over five days of sitting and one evening session.

After this week, there will be one more day of individual submissions on Monday 14th and the final day of Closing Addresses from the LMA and Councils on Tuesday 15th. Then the hearings are all over and the Assessment Committee has until the end of May to write up their report.

For those who have sat through the five weeks of hearings it has been an exhausting haul. But for those who have just 10 minutes to save their home or their community it seems an all too brief time to make their case.

The quality of the community and individual presentations has been excellent, with a wide variety of approaches and a rich layer of local detail. The Committee has not been bored and has asked interested questions of each presenter.

Monday (today) will see another day focussed on the transport issues with a solid line up of major public transport advocacy groups. Adam Bandt, The Greens Member for Melbourne has a 30 minutes at the end of the day.

Tuesday will see a strong focus on Royal Park from a number of individuals with the final session from Tom Pikusa, the barrister representing Protectors of Public Land, who has an 80 minute slot. Unfortunately this is late in the day but hopefully the timing will enable a lot of supporters to attend.

Wednesday morning brings a mix of individuals with the afternoon set aside for a string of people from Kensington.

Thursday kicks off with presentations about impacts on the Melbourne Zoo and finishes with the main submission from the Residents Against the Tunnel – RATS.

Friday has another mixed group of individual submissions with several focussing on the issue of property acquisition and the poor consultation process that has occurred.

It will be a critical week for the hearings and the fate of the inner suburbs may be determined by the overall impact that these submissions are able to make.

So far there has been just one submission from an advocate for the tollway (the RACV). The list of organisations and government agencies who might have been expected to present are noticeable by their absence. The weight of evidence heard has been overwhelmingly against the project proceeding.

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