Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says there is nothing more the government could have done to stop a car ploughing into pedestrians and cars in the city centre, killing one person and injuring five others.
In scenes that brought back chilling memories of the deadly 2017 Bourke Street rampage, a white sedan drove through pedestrians near a busy tram stop on Friday night and accelerated before crashing into two cars, killing a 76-year-old driver.
Concrete bollards were installed at some of Melbourne’s best known locations after six people were killed and dozens injured when James Gargasoulas ran them down in Bourke St Mall six years ago.
Additional stainless steel bollards and reinforced barriers were added in 2019 to create pedestrian refuges beside tram tracks in the Mall, at Princes Bridge and Flinders Street Station, as part of the security upgrades.
Extra CCTV and an emergency speaker system were also installed.
On Saturday, Mr. Andrews was asked if more could be done to protect pedestrians given the extra measures had failed to prevent the latest incident.
Mr. Andrews said he didn’t believe there was anything more that could be done to protect pedestrians in Melbourne’s CBD.
“If you’re going to be running a tram network, that obviously gets incredibly difficult—or if you’re going to have roads that intersect each other, then you will always have pedestrian traffic,” Mr. Andrews told reporters.
“So it is challenging to go beyond what we have done, and we’ve done a lot.”
Mr. Andrews said there were no other engineering treatments available, or appropriate, that would change Friday night’s outcome.
“I think we’ve done all that we can to fortify footpaths to try and control the movement of traffic,” he said.
“It’s the judgement of experts in this field that there’s nothing more that can be done to avoid, in this instance, an incident like this.”
Figures provided by the premier’s office showed 131 fixed bollards had been installed at the Bourke Street Mall and 51 at Flinders Street Station among a total of 645 across Melbourne’s CBD.
Victoria Police chief Shane Patton said patrols would be out and about over the weekend.
“Making sure that the public can feel reassured that Melbourne is a tremendously safe city,” Mr. Patton told reporters.
He said police had ruled out any links to terror, and the man arrested on Friday night—who has since been charged with murder—had no previous criminal history and would be questioned as soon as he was deemed fit to interview.