Sky rail fury

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram As the Andrews government defended its record on the level of public consultation over its $1.6 billion sky rail project for southeast Melbourne this week, details emerged of a heated confrontation between Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis and Oakleigh councillor Theo Zographos at a community consultation session.The meeting, held in Hughesdale last Saturday, was convened to gather community feedback on the plan to replace nine level crossings on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line by building three sections of elevated ‘sky rail’.During the meeting, Councillor Zographos was prevented from using his mobile phone to record video of the event by Mr Dalidakis in an exchange that Zographos recorded.The footage, later supplied to the Herald Sun, prompted southern Metro Liberal MP David Davis to call for Premier Daniel Andrews to reprimand his minister for “intimidation”.“Phil Dalidakis either wants to be a government minister or a nightclub bouncer, but he can’t be both,” Mr Davis said.Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Mr Dalidakis defended his actions, saying that Cr Zographos was the one doing the intimidating by filming people without their consent. “Artist’s impression of Murrumbeena sky rail station. IMAGE COURTESY LEVEL CROSSING REMOVAL AUTHORITY.For Theo Zographos, the local Liberal campaigner against sky rail, to film residents talking to me without their knowledge or permission is creepy and inappropriate. I am a public figure, they are not. “I asked him to either get their permission or leave. Nothing more, nothing less.”Mr Zographos rebuffed the minister’s version of events as “laughable”, saying the meeting’s public nature allowed anyone to document proceedings.“It is obvious Mr Dalidakis didn’t want scrutiny of the sham consultation process. There were at least half a dozen other people taking photos yet Mr Dalidakis’ chose to threaten only one,” said Zographos.“When Labor is desperate it is unfortunate that they engage in this utterly inappropriate behaviour. This is not Stalinist Russia.”The sky rail plan will see an 8km rail-track run nine metres above ground between Caulfield and Dandenong, which the government claims will open up 11 MCGs’ worth of space for parks, car parking and sporting facilities.Despite fierce criticism from planning experts and residents, on Tuesday Premier Daniel Andrews defended the government’s record on consultation, saying there had been a “respectful” approach to affected residents.The state opposition says the community has been kept in the dark over a plan they say will lead to increased noise and “ugly” graffiti-strewn viaducts running through established suburbs along the Dandenong corridor.last_img

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