March for Public Safety: Melbourne Community in Solidarity with Workers

Some 8,000 to 10,000 Trade Unionists and members of the public marched in solidarity for public and workplace safety.

The Union rally follows on from four deaths associated with GroCon buildings sites in Melbourne. One Worker who fell from a construction site crane and three innocent pedestrians who were killed when a hoarding and brick wall collapsed on March 28.

Whilst the main focus was on GroCon and the State Government Work Safety questions are being asked as to the City of Melbourne’s responsibility and why it failed to issued a permit or inspect the Swanston Street building site?

The City of Melbourne needs to undertake an internal review of its role in the tragic events and its statutory obligations.

  • Is GroCon being given favourable consideration and are they exempt from local laws and prosecution?
  • Has the City of Melbourne been negligent or are they turning a blind eye in a gentleman’s agreement? 

The media are also asking questions but the Council has gone underground refusing to answer, hoping to weather the storm and escape attention from three government inquiries.  Worksafe, the Buildling Industry and  a Coronal inquiry.

There is a need for a fourth Statutory compliance and review which must look closely at the role of the City of Melbourne in overseeing Construction site public safety.

The City of Melbourne has a whole department of Engineers and exactly what do they do other then Engineer congestion, attend seminars and drink coffee? If they are not providing oversight, inspection and enforcing the rules why are they employed? Why are rate payers paying their wages?

The Union movement plans further rallies should the government inquires seek to scape goat or fail to hold to account those responsible.  This includes the City of Melbourne and the State Government

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The  march begins at Trades Hall in Victoria Street,  and will proceed to the Swanston Street site of last month’s tragedy for a minute’s silence as a sign of respect.outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”

Junkets Away: Most Travelled 2008-2012

The Melbourne City Council – High Cost Travellers
(Above $10,000)
Dec-2008 to December 2012

Total amount spent:

 $      1,200,714.00
Interstate and Overseas Travel
Name Cost
Kathy Alexander $83,671.25
Jane Sharwood S66,423.46
Robert Doyle $55,254.80
Peter Clarke $50,736.55
Alister Paterson $39,768.80
Susan Riley $27,084.08
Brian Shanahan $25,010.37
Scott Chapman $24,836.87
Amelia Bitsis $23,271.23
Kevin Louey $22,715.35
David Campbell $21,683.73
Geoff Robinson $21,167.06
Martin Cutter $20,903.21
Fran Kerlin $20,872.83
Barry McGuren $19,730.73
Simon Spain $18,031.48
Rob Adams $16,229.47
Cathy Oke $15,917.67
Janey Chu $15,540.04
Geoff Lawler $14,641.91
Krista Milne $12,891.08
Ken Ong $12,829.19
Rob Moore $12,820.80
Ralf Pfleiderer $12,113.28
Janina Harding $11,685.78
Alex Fearnside $10,963.06
Ian Winter $10,800.52
Shane McIllory $10,300.73
Michelle Isles $10,153.39

Individual Trips costing over $10,000
Name Cost From To
Kathy Alexander $32,199.83 07-Jun-12 19-Jun-12
Scott Chapman $24,181.87 20-Mar-09 04-Apr-09
Peter Clarke $20,566.58 10-Oct-09 17-Oct-09
Peter Clarke $18,159.67 28-Sep-10 07-Oct-10
Fran Kerlin $17,994.00 19-Jul-12 03-Aug-12
Robert Doyle $17,264.62 12-Dec-09 22-Dec-09
Amelia Bitsis $16,076.79 12-Dec-09 22-Dec-09
Janey Chu $15,540.04 13-Oct-10 23-Oct-10
Alister Paterson $14,167.41 12-Dec-09 22-Dec-09
Barry McGuren $14,127.15 23-Jul-12 29-Jul-12
Geoff Robinson $13,097.13 15-Mar-10 25-Mar-10
Brian Shanahan $12,676.53 12-Dec-10 18-Dec-10
Rob Moore $12,496.50 04-Apr-11 10-Apr-11
Jane Sharwood $12,254.89 11-Dec-10 18-Dec-10
Peter Clarke $11,431.66 05-Apr-11 09-Apr-11
Kevin Louey $11,313.63 17-Oct-10 27-Oct-10
Kathy Alexander $11,225.83 17-Oct-10 26-Oct-10
Susan Riley $11,157.38 17-Oct-10 26-Oct-10
Martin Cutter $11,134.51 13-Aug-11 20-Aug-11
Robert Doyle $10,782.34 08-Oct-11 14-Oct-11
Jane Sharwood $10,642.64 17-Oct-10 23-Oct-10
Jane Sharwood $10,519.00 19-Feb-12 27-Feb-12
Geoff Lawler $10,425.00 14-Nov-09 22-Nov-09
Alex Fearnside $10,092.49 12-Jun-09 26-Jun-09
Ralf Pfleiderer $10,000.00 07-May-12 29-May-12

 * Note: The City of Melbourne titles or departments as such we can not produce a High Cost Travelled Departments.  The Council goes out of its way to avoid disclosure and accountability 

Junkets Away: Councillors Overseas Travel

Five months late the City of Melbourne has finally published it’s Overseas and Interstate Travel costs for the term of the previous Council (Dec-2008 to Nov-2012)

Topping the bill of the most travelled Councillors is the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

Interstate and Overseas Travel – Total
Councillor Cost
Robert Doyle $55,254.80
Peter Clarke $50,736.55
Susan Riley $27,084.08
Brian Shanahan $25,010.37
Kevin Louey $22,715.35
Cathy Oke $15,917.67
Ken Ong $12,829.19
Carl Jetter $3,956.08
Rob Adams $2,670.60
Jennifer Kanis $40.27

Swanston Street: Open it to traffic 7pm to 7am Left turn in Left turn out.

Melbourne’s failed Swanston Street should be open to circulating traffic 7 AM to 7 PM with consideration also be given to opening it up on the weekend.

Swanston Street has been a complete disaster.   100’s of Millons of dollars, super stops and bike paths and the Street still does not work. Killed off by Engineering Services and a City Council hell bent on catering for Bicycles.  Bicycles mainly use Swanston street in the peak monring and afternoon period.  After 7PM it is dead.  If it was not for Street Traders and buskers the Street would be worst than it is.

Opening up Swanston Street for circulating traffic from Flinders Lane, Little Collins Street and Little Lonsdale Street, Left Hand turn in Left hand turn out 7PM to 7AM would dd life and vitality back into the City precinct

Melbourne’s Pain is No Gain

The Napthine State Liberal Government has slugged Melbourne with a 33% increase in the “Congestion Tax” up from $900 to $1200 per car space.  The extra imposition of a parking tax will hit small businesses the most.  As the cost of travelling and shopping in the City centre increases more and more customers will opt to shop and do business at the suburban shopping centres were carparking is free.  This creates a never ending spiral. the greater the impost on business and retail , fewer customers increased costs, less trade, fewer businesses.

The City Council continues to engineer congestion. The reduction in traffic lanes in LaTobe street and the proposed reduction of lanes on Princes Bridge will add further to inner city congestion.

Last time the City Council had a windfall in the congestion tax the Council spent the money on the Orange Tourist buses and creating bike lanes.

It should have spent the money generated on establishing a mini bus route that links Melbourne’s inner suburbs. Why do we need to have large buses in the inner city area?

Better still rather than handing money over to the City Council to waste, The State Government  should provide free public transport within the City (Between Docklands/North Melbourne to East Melbourne, Domain Interchange/South Yarra to Parkville/Melbourne University and the Zoo)  Free inner city  public transport would go a long way towards invigorating Melbourne and providing residents and visitors alike a real benefit whilst easing traffic congestion..

Daddy not so cool: City of Melbourne moves on Australia’s Rock Legend

The City of Melbourne continues to bring itself into disrepute and highlights the stupidity of its administration.

Melbourne and international visitors to our city were given a magnificent impromptu concert from Australia’s Rock legend and arguably one of Australia’s best guitarist Ross Hannaford of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock fame.

Hannaford accompanied by a percussion drummer had set up on the corner of Flinder’s Lane an Swanston Street as soon  attracted a sizable and appreciative audience. It was one of the best street performances I had seen in a long time. Ross had a busking permit.

The site he had chosen was perfect, in front of a flower bed on the corner and inconvenienced no one. Just two legendary musicians playing music in the sun to everyone’s enjoyment

Within a a few minutes of his performance Melbourne City Council Officer, Michael Kuma, oblivious as to the quality of the music on offer moved him on. It turns out he was on the wrong side of Flinders Lane.

For those who know the work of Ross Hannaford this was akin to asking Sting or Jimmy Hendrick, busking on the main street, to move on . 

If ever there was an example why Street Trading and Busking should be removed from Engineering Services this is it. Stupidity at its best.  Engineering services is not the appropriate department to advocate or develop policies to encourage and manage Street Trading. The sooner the City of Melbourne Transfers Street Trading to the Small Business Tourism portfolio the better off we will all be.

Daddy not so cool: City of Melbourne moves on Australia’s Rock Legend

The City of Melbourne continues to bring itself into disrepute and highlights the stupidity of its administration.

Melbourne and international visitors to our city were given a rare and magnificent impromptu concert from Australia’s Rock legend and arguably the best guitarist in Australia, Ross Hannaford of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock fame.

Hannaford accompanied by a percussion drummer had set up on the corner of Flinder’s Lane an Swanston Street and soon  attracted a sizable and appreciative audience. It was one of the best street performances I had seen in a long time. Ross had a busking permit.

The site he had chosen was perfect, in front of a flower bed and inconvenienced no one. Just two legendary musicians playing music in the sun to everyone’s enjoyment

Within a a few minutes of his performance Melbourne City Council Officer, Michael Kuma, oblivious as to the quality of the music on offer, moved him on. It turns out he was on the wrong side of Flinders Lane.

For those who know the work of Ross Hannaford this was akin to asking Sting or Jimmy Hendricks busking on the main street of London or New York, to move on .

If ever there was an example why Street Trading and Busking should be removed from Engineering Services this is it. Stupidity at its best.

Top honcho lycra wearing Geoff Robinson, head of Engineering Services, has no idea of what makes a great city. Clearly there are problems with Street Trading being under Engineering Services.  It seams all the problems facing the City of Melbourne of late arise from Robinson’s department, be it his autocratic style of management or his constant harassment of Street Traders to the detriment of the city.

 

The sooner the City of Melbourne transfers Street Trading to the Small Business Tourism portfolio the better off we will all be.

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The march will start at 10AM outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”

Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.