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SOUTH Yarra residents have been dealt a double blow by the State Government’s rail plan, with revelations their properties could be demolished — despite the fact they will not get a new station.
And a bid to find out how many homes would be affected has been stymied, with a lawyer saying revealing that information was “contrary to the public interest”.
The Leader understands homes and businesses will be acquired to make way for Labor’s Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel, even though it will bypass South Yarra station.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan justified her decision not to build a new underground interchange at South Yarra by saying more than 100 properties would have to be demolished to build it, at a cost of $1 billion.
But documents released under Freedom of Information laws reveal the Government has been deliberating over “potential property acquisitions required for the delivery of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, with no new station at South Yarra”.
Ms Allan refused to reveal how many properties would need to be acquired.
“The most important thing when delivering major infrastructure is to minimise disruption and acquisition wherever possible,” Ms Allan said in a statement.
Prahran state Greens MP Sam Hibbins accused Ms Allan of a “double standard” and called on the Government to reveal how many properties would be acquired and “be transparent about their decision making”.
In a letter to Mr Hibbins, Melbourne Metro Rail Authority principal lawyer Justin Deegan said the number of properties affected by Labor’s chosen rail option (with no new station) was redacted because such “speculative information” was “contrary to the public interest”.
The documents compare the former Coalition government’s Melbourne Rail Link proposal with the Labor plan, showing that under the latter project, a new South Yarra station would mean wiping out more than 100 properties.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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