Fw: Sun.19.12.21 daily digest, part 2
  Roderick Smith

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Subject: Sun.19.12.21 daily digest, part 2



Sun.19.12.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Suburban upgrades will cause travel pain. MATT JOHNSTON
A PERFECT storm of road and rail works in Melbourne’s northeast will cause commuter chaos this January.
The Hurstbridge line duplication project, early works on the $16bn North East Link toll road and an upgrade to fix Eltham’s busiest intersection will all collide in the new year.
The government says shutdowns that are being ordered in January and February will enable “six months’ worth of work in six weeks” at Fitzsimmons Lane in Eltham, where a major traffic bottleneck is being removed.
Works are set to kick off on January 4, with a roundabout removed and traffic lights installed, and motorists are urged to leave an extra 30 minutes for travel.
Just one lane will remain open for city-bound traffic through the Main Rd intersection for most of January.
Early works on the NE Link will also hit motorists in January and February, with lane closures on Bullen Rd and speed reductions at times.
Meanwhile, buses will replace trains on the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines between Parliament, Reservoir and Heidelberg from 9pm Sunday, January 2 to the last service on Sunday, January 9.
This is to enable inner-city upgrades as part of a project to duplicate 2km of track between Greensborough and Montmorency and 1.5km between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said everyone should plan ahead as they travelled this summer.
“We’re not wasting a minute to deliver big projects that will keep traffic moving and deliver more trains in the northeast while continuing to support thousands of jobs as our economy rebuilds,” she said.

Sun.19.12.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Living in the outer suburbs is hard work. JAMES CAMPBELL
ALMOST one in five people living in regional NSW and Victoria and outer suburban Sydney and Melbourne say they have lost work or income because of where they live, while l5 per cent claim they have lost work because of their living arrangements.
The findings from a survey carried out for a Labor-aligned think tank also show close to 40 per cent of people living in regional and outer suburban areas say they are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs.
Dr Nick Dyrenfurth from the John Curtin Research Centre said the findings showed there was a close connection between rising housing unaffordability and the livelihoods of working people in the na tion’s outer suburbs and regions.
The survey was conducted this month by the RedBridge research group in outer suburban areas and selected re- gional centres in Victoria and NSW.
Asked if they had ever lost work and/or income due to moving to a different suburb, 18 per cent of respondents answered yes, while 15 per cent said they had lost work or felt at a disadvantage in applying for jobs due to their living arrangements, such as living too far away.
Large numbers of respondents also said they felt where they lived made it diffificult to access childcare, health and aged care, public transport and other community facilities.
Many respondents also said they were unable to access the schools of their choice.
Dr Dyrenfurth said the findings confirmed his research showed housing unaffordability in Australia was primarily being driven by a disconnect between the earning capacity of working people and sluggish wages growth compared to soaring house prices.
He said the problem was compounded by job insecurity and underemployment.
Dr Dyrenfurth said the survey also showed extraordinary levels of housing stress, with 66 per cent of respondents spending more than 20 per cent of their income on mortgages or rent and close to 40 per cent saying they were spending more than 30 per cent.

Sun.19.12.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Letters:
* WHICH Labor government department allowed Transurban to underbid on the West Gate Tunnel project, win the contract and now wants billions extra? Either learn that 2+2=4, or get anotherjob.
* I CAN’T believe the stupidity of Melbourne City Council and the Andrews government redeveloping the end of Elizabeth St into a supposed park after the failed popup park experiment a few years ago that was closed for unruly behaviour, including drunken assaults.
Anyone who has been in the city during lockdown would have been blind to have not seen the problems already associated with Elizabeth St, including agitated, drug-affected behaviour and drunken aggression.
While in the city last week walking down Elizabeth St, I watched a distressing and obvious forced drug interaction and overdose at 2pm, in the open with no attempt at hiding it.
I continued along the so-called park (a strip of synthetic grass didn’t warrant being called a park to me) to then be confronted as I got near to Flinders St with aggressive, loud and drunken, possibly drug-affected behaviour and a bag snatching.
All this in broad daylight and among many Christmas shoppers and office workers who are now only tentatively coming back to the city.
It must be a nightmare to be a trader along that end of Elizabeth St after months of being shut to now have your business limited by this.
With no obvious police presence, it’s a recipe for disaster. Vale, beautiful Melbourne.
* City's not for families. I READ there were concerns over drugs and incidents in Elizabeth St (“Central Bong District”, SHS, 12/12) so today, when I took my two young children to see the Myer windows, I stayed away from that area.
Upon leaving Flinders Street station and walking towards Degraves St, we saw three or four homeless people begging for money or sleeping in the street.
Upon entering Degraves and heading towards Collins St we saw people pushing one another around.
A young guy was walking up and down Collins St yelling and swearing. By this stage my children were frightened so I entered a shop, hoping the person would go away.
We then raced to the Myer windows, saw the window display and I decided to catch a taxi to get out of the city, which was disappointing as we were hoping to have a day of fun.
Something urgently needs to be done to clean up the streets and have a more visible police presence.
As for my family, I cannot see us coming back to the city — it looked dirty and, in my opinion, unsafe for families.
Which is sad as I used to love coming into the city with my parents, sitting in the mall on the old post office steps and looking at the shops — not now though.
* Policing priorities. THE photographs and reports of drug-taking and selling in Elizabeth St are certainly confronting — but the police can’t be everywhere.
Crimes must be categorised and dealt with according to government priority and policy — and despite such reports, they definitely were.
Serious criminals, like a few children on a swing or slide, were quickly dealt with.
The recalcitrant golf players or six coffee drinkers copped a $10,000 fine — because neither was allowed.
Chasing cars outside the 5km limit and those inconsiderate criminal revellers who wouldn’t follow a 9pm curfew all took time.
* IF Lord Mayor Sally Capp is so concerned about the disgraceful state of the southern end of Elizabeth St in the CBD (SHS, I2/12), why did she not vehemently protest when Dan Andrews indicated the next safe house for injecting of illegal drugs was likely to be located in Flinders St, about 100m from the problem area?
* HOW is it possible that a state government can be so inept with major projects yet is never held to account by anyone, not the party itself or the federal government?
The people of Victoria are in for a long period of pain unless everyone remembers this when they vote next year.