In a pointed speech to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia yesterday, the original proponent of the East West Link, Sir Rod Eddington, again called on Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Labor Government to build the missing link.
Sir Eddington expressed his disappointment at the State Labor Government’s scrapping of the project and the associated $1.2 billion price tag, and stressed that Daniel Andrews’ ‘silver bullet solution’, the North East Link, won’t do enough to ease the ever increasing congestion on Melbourne’s roads.
Federal Member for Deakin, Michael Sukkar, said, “This is another example to add to a growing list of frustrations that the East West Link still hasn’t been built. It’s now almost a decade since Sir Eddington proposed a corridor connecting the eastern and western suburbs. It’s time for Daniel Andrews, Bill Shorten and the State Labor Government to drop these political games and support this vital project.”
This intervention comes within days of new Grattan Institute research which found Melbourne’s traffic congestion is now worse than Sydney’s, with the Eastern Freeway being the worst choke point. This backs up an RACV study of 18,000 drivers last year, which found the eastern end of the proposed East West Link was overwhelmingly the number one trouble spot in the state.
Federal Member for Aston, Alan Tudge, said, “Local residents are still white- hot with rage over Daniel Andrews’ decision to waste $1.2 billion not to build the road. It is desperately needed and we are going to keep up the pressure.”
With Melbourne’s population set to overtake Sydney’s in the next two decades, Daniel Andrews, Bill Shorten and the State Labor Government need to think to the future and support this project which will ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to accommodate our growing city.
In fact, Labor’s own hand-picked advisers at Infrastructure Victoria have stressed that the East West Link should commence as soon as possible to avoid long-term flow on effects to Melbourne’s road network.
Federal Member for Menzies, Kevin Andrews, echoed these concerns. He said, “Melbourne’s population is growing rapidly, and clearly our roads aren’t keeping up. The State Labor Government has already ripped $1.2 billion from taxpayers’ pockets by scrapping this project. It beggars belief they are still putting politics ahead of Melbourne’s future.”
Mr Sukkar added, “There’s $3 billion still on the table from the Commonwealth Government for the East West Link. The ongoing support for this project by my colleagues, including Alan Tudge, Kevin Andrews, and Tony Smith shows just how important it is to residents in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.”
It’s time for Daniel Andrews, Bill Shorten and the State Labor Government to listen to the experts’ advice to just build the East West Link.
Mr Sukkar: Julianna Burgess – 0428 401 559; Mr Tudge: Xenia Bosancic – 03 9887 3890; Mr Andrews: Cristy Elliott – 0422 291 454