Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Victorian Liberal Government Should Be Ashamed to Sign East-West Link Contracts

The Victorian Liberal Government should be ashamed that it last night signed the contracts for the East-West Link Road Tunnel, the Royal Park Freeway. In signing the contracts, the Victorian Liberals have ignored the calls of many in our community who oppose this white elephant of a project, and which will cause severe economic, social and environmental damage.

I urge the contractors to take note while the ink is still wet, that the contract is not worth the paper it is written on. Victorian Labor has made it clear that it wants this election to be about better public transport, and should it win office in November, it will support the Moreland and Yarra Councils legal challenge against the project. Signing the contracts now is a reckless and clear act of arrogance on the part of the Victorian Liberals who should hang their heads in shame for promising not to build the tunnel before an election, and doing the opposite after.

The Victorian Liberal Government should have the integrity to take the East-West Link proposal to the Victorian people at the November Election. This election should decide whether the people of Victorian want an $8 billion East-West Road Tunnel being built through Royal Park. It will not solve Melbourne’s traffic congestion issues, it will increase carbon emissions, it will increase motor vehicle dependency, it will damage the beautiful open space fauna and flora at Royal Park and along the Moonee Ponds Creek, it will see residential homes compulsorily acquired; and it will consume much of the Victorian State Government transport budget for many years to come, and prejudice the ability for our outer urban communities to meet their legitimate transport needs.

As I told the Parliament last week, the Australian and Victorian Liberal Government’s should undertake a publicly transparent full economic, social and environmental analysis before committing billions of taxpayers’ dollars. However the known evidence demonstrates that economically the project does not stack up- it will reach capacity within a matter of years of being finalised, it is based on misleading assumptions regarding fuel prices, car prices and parking prices, it has a negative cost benefit ratio return for taxpayers, and it does not have the support of the Moreland or Yarra communities.
This issue should be turned over to the Victorian people to decide in November. The urgency behind getting the contracts signed represents a contempt for the democratic process. It is a clear sign the Victorian Liberals know that the Victorian people are wised up to this white elephant proposal, and will not support it at the ballot box. Let’s invest precious taxpayer dollars on projects Victorians actually want and need.

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