Kennett's Melbourne

During the week I had a Kennett moment. I was out late one night, waiting for a train at Parliament station and started studying the local area map on the wall. As at most stations, the map is a collection of Melway pages stuck together, pointing out everything worth seeing in the area, all with a painful amount of detail.

To help pass the minutes I started looking at the small details on the map, and noticed that it had aged quite significantly. Just south of the Yarra was "Crown Casino Complex (proposed)", whilst just opposite Flinders Street Station was nothing but an unwieldly collection of railway lines and the Gas and Fuel building. Based on what was an wasn't published on the map, I estimated that it was circa 1995, just over two years into the Kennett era, and with many of his major projects still to come.

I betchya Jeff did most of the talking
I betchya Jeff did most of the talking

In the time since the map was published, there have been a multitude of changes to the shape of Melbourne. Dividing them between the Kennett era and the Bracks era is revealing:

- Crown Casino Complex (licence issued by Kirner, but construction was under Kennett)
- Federation Square (Kennett, though completed - late - under Bracks)
- Melbourne Museum (Kennett)
- Docklands Stadium (Kennett)
- CityLink (Kennett)
- Exhibition Street extention (Kennett)
- MCG Redevelopment (Bracks, although in response to winning Commonwealth Games, a Kennett project)
- Spencer Street redevelopment (ditto)

Though the past ten years has been shared roughly equally by both Kennett and Bracks, the imprint on the shape of the city by the former is stark, whilst the latter's legacy is modest. In recent years there has been a lack of excitement about developments in the inner city. The mystery and excitement of heading into the city and seeing a skyline full of cranes is no longer there. Instead, there is a sense that the city is complacent and not keen to grow.

Perhaps I am falling victim to the craving for bread and circuses which ultimately cost Kennett his Premiership. After all, Bracks himself has claimed that he wishes to focus on social infrastructure rather than major projects. But even with this rearrangement of priorities, surely there is still a role for the state Government is ensuring Melbourne remains a vibrant and ever-growing city.

As the 10:53pm to Frankston pulled up, I couldn't help but have a secret longing for Kennett, in all his big-haired, arrogant-speaking major-project-loving goodness. Is there truth to what I'm saying, or am I just a development fascist?


Peter Parker said…
And inside the station itself you might have seen legacies of:

1. Electrified rail to Warragul (curtailed by Kennett)

2. Mornington Peninsula railway (closed by Hamer)

3. Stony Point line (closed by Hamer, opened by Crabb)

4. Cranbourne electrification (Under Kennett, but funded through Keating's Better Cities)

5. Sydenham/Watergardens (planned under Kennett, opened under Bracks)

6. Metcard (a semi-botched Kennett project that follows the failed scratch tickets (Cain/Kirner).
Peter Parker said…
Then there's Kennett's renaming of Museum Station to Melbourne Central(harmless and probably justified).

Followed by its emasculation by the incompetent and unmissed Mary Delahunty (not harmless).
Anonymous said…
Somthing valid in both the post & comments so far.
Kennett was the best thing to happen to Victoria in 100 years, his only flaw was to be the Melbourne State Premier, rather than the Victorian one.
It is beginning to look a little as if Bracks' damage to the state may even reach the benchmarks set by kirner & cain.
Anonymous said…
Well Ari you may not be a development fascist but Jeff Kennent was not far off being a true fascist highlighted by his final election billboards featuring his arrogant mug. Maybe it is where I live but give me an Otway national park over a Docklands any day, I think I know which will be the more lasting legacy.

Guruann said…
Fast and improved regional rail link - Bracks

Spencer St Redevlopment - Bracks

EastLink - Bracks

Macedon St Bridge in Sunbury - Bracks

Recycled Water Use in Western Water Region - Bracks

Carlton on the botton of the Ladder - who cares
Anonymous said…
Kennet was not far off being a fascist for his election billboards? What an incredibly stupid and offensive thing to say. It pisses me off when people use terms like fascist so inaprorpriately.
Jeremy said…
Hmm. Casinos. Big expensive showy buildings. The most expensive toll-road (with the most disturbing secretive contract deals and oppressive legislation backing it up).

Or funding for schools and hospitals.

I know which one I'd choose.
boy_fromOz said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boy_fromOz said…
I agree with Dozza; flippantly tossing around labels like 'fascist' isn't just silly, it's dangerous. Language isn't an inanimate tool, it shapes the way we think

that's why I avoid 'Islamofacist' or 'Islamist' when discussing terrorisms. I think the terms are an intellectual copout and deaden our thinking about how to handle this menace

at this rate, might do a second postmodernist post on my blog
Anonymous said…
Now Dozza lets try to untwist your knickers and take a peak at the definition of fascism at Wikipedia.

"The term fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's, that in various combinations:
exalts the nation, (and in some cases the race, culture, or religion) above the individual, with the state apparatus being supreme.
stresses loyalty to a single leader.
uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition.
engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
engages in syndicalist corporatism.
implements totalitarian systems. "

Although the Kennett government displayed a number of the above charateristics it was the campaign of 1999 (where the censorship extended to even gagging his own MPs) with those very billboards that gave those of us who have lived under dictatorial regimes the willies. Ask Ari about images of Kim in North Korea. The point I tried making was that Kennett's actions in that election 'highlighted' the fascist tendencies of himself and his government and certainly stressed loyalty to a single leader, not as you put it "Kennet was not far off being a fascist for his election billboards". One would only twist someones words like that if they were stupid or intent on being offensive.
Anonymous said…
Speaking of billboards everywhere & images of Kim in North Korea... Anyone visited Brisbane lately & seen the proliferation of images of Doctor Premier Great Leader Peter Beattie? (Soon to be bigger disaster than Joan Kirner)
Anonymous said…
Yeah, speaking to a nice young lady from Brisbane recently, she referred to Beattie as the great media tart. Now, I remember that term fondest for when it was used to describe former ACCC head Alan Fels, but since moving to Canberra some time ago and getting the news pumped down from Sydney instead of out of Melbourne I was actually getting more used to using it to describe Carr.... what to do now I wonder?

Anyway I get away from myself.

For those beating each other over theuse of the word facist, stop being language-nazi's.

That ought to stir the pot, now to move on.

Steve at the Pub got in and gave the comment I'd have made before me - Kennett was a Melbourne Premier, not a Victorian one. There is a state beyond "Zone 3", and Kennett didn't give creedence enough to that. Well done Bracks for trying to do something about regional rail lines, but mate, please stop thinking that to look after a regional area you just link up the major centres to the city.

Besides which, coming from a 3+ hour drive from Melbourne, and having Bendigo halfway down that drive, I've never really considered Bendigo, Ballarat, and especially Geelong, all that "regional" anyway...

But semantic discussions bore me. I'm off now.
JP said…
Those would be the regional rail lines that haven't been finished yet, are coming in at multiplies of their original budget and are only going to provide incremental benefits to regional areas?
Anonymous said…
No more language nazi from me then, maybe in the wash up Kennett was as much a fascist as Pilger was a racist ;)



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