DAY 231

Public transport rally- scrap MYKI & make public transport free

Source: Community contribution – Joel K

@ 121 Exhibition St, outside the transport ministers offices.

Regardless of the inclement weather there was a great turn out for the rally and the warm glow of solidarity found it a comfortable atmosphere. Of course private security officers and Vicpol were present, but the chilly environment they found themselves in seemed to keep them fixed in place and in some sort of hibernating docile state. Various speakers from political movements, unions and international students, addressed those present.

The points raised by the speakers noted that the current way the public transport system is being run, is both failed, as it’s a poor use of tax revenues, (subsidising private corporations to provide this service.. essentially public funds going into the private purse) as well as that it discriminates against the ‘have nots’, or those on low wages.

Considering the amount of public funds paid to subsidise private corporations to run this public service, if instead these funds were utilised to provide a free service, there would be less public funds used in providing a free service, than currently are to subsidise the PT system and that free PT would be a progressive outcome as it provides equitable access to public transport for all. The savings of tax revenues made from providing free PT could contribute to other services being provided for free for example, free child care.

Other points made is that free public transport would have a beneficial impact on the environment and if the government are serious about reducing carbon emissions, the shift from private transport to free public transport, would help meet these carbon emission reduction goals.

Ideas for alternative source of funding for the public transport system that could see it become free and equitable ranged from:

One proposed (by the union speaker) was to have business pay for PT, as it was their interest that were met, due to Public transport getting the employees to and from work.

Another was that we currently pay a Medicare Levi, so that all can have equitable access to health care,(no matter how rich, or poor a person is.) Similarly a PT tax Levi could again ensure that all have equitable access to public transport.

At the moment those who struggle financially, are fare evading at risk of significant fines,(which further exacerbates their financial hardship and further discriminate against them as a result of making it even less achievable for them, being able to pay for the service) or being brutalised by paid thugs.. It’s regressive and doesn’t need to be the case..

Background: Jeff Kennett, (the premier of Victoria at the time, who made the decision, to sell the public transport system) failed his duty to the public and failed to manage the tax revenues. Leading to the public transport system,(which was paid for by generations of tax payers revenues.) being sold and privatised.

Aside from selling off the PT system, he sold many hospitals and schools,(oddly enough his buddy Bailieu,(the current premier) who owns Baillieu real estate, won the contract to sell 300 of those schools.

Kennet also introduced and was behind changes to laws, that allowed pokies and casinos to set up in Victoria. What benefit did selling these public assets, or changing laws that allowed casinos to set up, provide the public?? Well none, if anything it has made the publics life harder and less affordable and law changes that allowed casinos have contributed to the erosion of the social fabric. This is a fairly typical example of those that set themselves up as ‘above’ the people, who serve their ‘own’ interests and ‘not’ the ‘interests’ of the ‘public.’  This is unacceptable and highlights the reasons behind why the public are sick and tired of being treated with such contempt and this manifests in groups such as OM and Fightback forming.

Although not ideal, (as there is a moral cost to the alternative) tax revenues raised,from Casinos and pokies could easily fund a public transport system that provided a free service, which would negate a need for a PT tax Levi, or business to pay, or the current practise  (of using tax paid subsidies, being given to private corporations, to operate the PT system) of tax paid subsidies being used to fund the PT system. Ultimately the government under the leadership of Kennet failed the citizen and when there are alternative and viable solutions to this, why should the public have to suffer any longer?

It’s time the Baillieu government addressed this and acted on the alternative options that would see a progressive outcome, that created equitable access to a public service. If the ‘fail you’ government aren’t prepared to act on this, then the opposition parties should be championing this idea and running an election campaign that guarantees,(not a baby kissing politicians promise) these outcomes being achieved.

Joel Kershaw.

Rally In Support Of Julian Assange

Source: Occupy Melbourne on Facebook

It was a highly successful afternoon at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT – cnr Lonsdale & Spring Sts), with a mass occupation of the building’s lobby leading to delivery of a letter from Christine Assange to the Dept’s Victorian Director by #omel operatives. There was great community spirit exercising non-violent assembly, some excellent speeches throughout the day and plenty of support from passers-by.

Video link of action


Occupy Melbourne New Website (under construction)

Occupy Melbourne on Facebook

Occupy Melbourne on Twitter

Occupy Melbourne on Wikia

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