Tuesday, 02 February 2010
Stonnington traders rally against clearways at Parliament
Stonnington Leader online
LIBERAL deputy leader Louise Asher has promised her party will scrap Labor’s extended clearways policy if elected in November.
A 100-strong crowd of protesters, comprising mostly traders, cheered when Ms Asher announced the Opposition’s intention to campaign on the issue.
Ms Asher promised that the Liberals, if elected, would roll back the longer clearway hours policy in the inner-city, claiming it was hurting small businesses.
Opposition leader Ted Baillieu is expected to release a statement this afternoon outlining his party’s position.
Local Liberals Malvern MP Michael O’Brien and Southern Metropolitan MP Andrea Coote are said to have worked hard in recent days to get senior party support on the anti-clearways stance.
Stonnington Council is today making an 11th-hour plea to the State Government to reverse its position on extended clearways.
And the council says it will refuse to change parking signs to show new clearway times unless certain demands are met.
VicRoads had set a Monday deadline for longer clearway hours on High St, but Roads Minister Tim Pallas today shifted the date forward to February 22.
The council passed a resolution at last night’s meeting to continue to oppose the Government’s clearway policy, which would introduce clearways from 6.30am to 10am and 3pm or 4pm to 7pm.
Councillors will advise VicRoads that new parking signs will not be erected unless the roads authority demonstrates the implementation of extended clearways is lawful.
Councillors, traders and residents started protesting on the steps of Parliament House today at 11.30am.
Mayor Tim Smith appealed to the Government to “see sense and protect the livelihoods of our traders and the character and amenity of our neighbourhoods”.
Cr Smith said the Government had repeatedly rejected the council’s arguments.
“If they won’t listen to the council we are hoping they will listen to the community – the residents and retailers who are their constituents,” he said.
Government spokesman Chris Owner said the standardised clearway policy was about improving traffic flow on key Melbourne arterial roads.
“We need to act now to reduce congestion and get people to and from work easier, whether it be by car or public transport,” he said.
Mr Owner said the Government had listened to the concerns of local traders and councils, and modified the policy.