PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra:
I am still as determined as ever to see the East West Link built in Melbourne and ensure that the contract is honoured. This project was put on the agenda back in 2008 by the then Labor government through the Eddington report. It was supported at the time by Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard. It was planned for by the Baillieu government, who put money towards its planning.
The federal government put $1.5 billion on the table after the 2013 election. Then the Napthine government contracted to ensure that it was built. That contract should be honoured, because it would take pressure off the Eastern and take pressure off the Monash Freeway and it would significantly ease congestion across Melbourne.
I would also like to raise two or three other infrastructure projects which I know residents in my community are keen to see developed. One of those is the Rowville rail project, which I have been an advocate for ever since being elected to this parliament. It is a vital piece of infrastructure for residents of the southern half of my electorate, particularly in Rowville and Lysterfield. When it eventually gets built it will link Australia’s largest campus, the Monash University campus in Clayton, to the rail network.
This is why I have never stopped pushing for this project. I did not stop pushing when the coalition was in government in Spring Street, and I will not stop pushing now that the Andrews government holds power in Spring Street. I appreciate that this is not a straightforward project. Further rail upgrades need to be done before this additional rail capacity can be added, in terms of the Rowville rail project.
Another smaller project which is vitally important to constituents in the seat of Aston covering the Knox area is the Napoleon Road upgrade. It is vitally important and necessary. Many have argued that Police Road should be extended through to Churchill Park Drive to take the pressure off Bergins Road.
Also, with the redevelopment of the Knox City shopping centre such that it will soon become the second biggest shopping centre in Australia, I think the issue of the tramline being extended down to it should be back on the agenda; that should be discussed and at least planned for, so that we can see that project come to light at some stage in the near future.
All of these, of course, are so much easier to build when the economy is strong and when we have money in the bank. We know that Labor governments have destroyed the budget and have put us into great debt and that that makes it so much more difficult to build good infrastructure projects, but these are the types of projects that are necessary for the people of the outer east and they certainly are ones that I will be supporting.