Air is free, but more pollution from West Gate Tunnel is deadly

By Spotswood South Kingsville Residents Goup

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A little bit of context

Spotswood and South Kingville is a small community in Hobsons Bay in the inner west of Melbourne. We already live with increasing noise and pollution from the West Gate Freeway which carries approximately 200,000 vehicles per day including 30,000 trucks.  

In 2014, the Andrews Government won government in Victoria with a mandate to implement and fund the West Gate Distributor project, a relatively small proposal to resolve freight issues and take trucks off residential streets.

Fast forward to 2016, and the Victorian Government has agreed to partner with Transurban, a private tolling company who will receive tolls from the new roads in return for funding a much bigger project, the West Gate Tunnel project (the Project). The Project is now subject to an EES where its assumptions and benefits will be scrutinised by all interested parties. Final approval from the Minister for Planning and the Victorian Parliament is required through this process. Construction is due to start early 2018 and end in 2022. 

But there’s a problem

We are concerned the air quality standards outlined by the Project will not sufficiently safeguard our community.

Vehicle emissions and air quality standards in Australia do not meet international standards. The Australian truck fleet using the West Gate Tunnel Project’s truck ramps, freeways and tunnel is aged and a very large proportion are not even compliant with Australia’s poor standards, (Euro V), hence they are likely to be a very significant emitters of diesel particulate matter. Diesel exhaust has been classified as carcinogenic to humans.

Neighbouring Maribyrnong already has Victoria’s highest rate of child hospital admissions for respiratory illness (Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Survey, DEECD 2009). In addition, the Project proposes new truck ramps to bring trucks carrying toxic loads close to our homes, the Emma McLean Kindergarten and Donald McLean Reserve. The ramps will run beside Scienceworks (over 500,000 visitors in 2016), near a heritage site and across open wetland areas.

Without safeguards, it is inevitable the health of our families and visitors to our neighbourhood will be affected.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We want to hire air quality experts such as, Dr Diane Keogh to analyse the air quality studies in the Project’s EES.

Dr Diane Keogh has had a long career as an Air Quality Scientist and is an expert in particulate matter and vehicle emissions. Dr Keogh is also across the latest international research in this area.

We also look forward to working with other experts in this area for analysis and responding to the EES as specific issues are identified.

 You can join us 

Your contribution will enable analysis of data, submissions, representation at panel hearings and a community education program arguing for:

  1. Better air quality standards
  2. Additional air quality protection measures for Emma McLean Kindergarten and Donald McLean Reserve
  3. Installation of filtration in the ventilation stacks
  4. A critical review of the modelling for pollution from the new ramps to check on projected levels

Meet the EES documents our air quality experts are reviewing to respond to the West Gate Tunnel Project EES, all 10,000 pages! (Photo credit: Rosa McKenna, taken at Newport Hub)


Residents out and about on 30th July, 2016, trying to influence the scope of the EES (Photo credit: Stuart Clark)


Some amazing perks for supporting us that you can’t live without

We're happy to share the research material!

A $10 donation will get you a campaign pack to spread the word


And here's what some of our supporters have to say...

""Spotswood is a very small suburb. Even if all of us actually managed to get together to shout out our objections, I doubt you would even hear us over the roar of the trucks." (The Age, 4th June 2017) This crowdfunding is an important way to raise our voices through the EES process."

-Meaghan Paul, Mother, Teacher, Writer and Photographer. She lives in Spotswood with her family



"Community campaigns are the livelihood of democracy and we should help fellow residents wanting to make use of world-leading expertise. A city like Melbourne is a complex inter-related entity and effects of a massive project like the West Gate Tunnel will have impacts throughout our city and throughout the inner north."

- Chris Star, Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT)

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Team Members

Spotswood and South Kingsville Residents Group - Better West

Christine Harris

Rosaleen McKenna