Posted on 03. Aug, 2012 in News
The Baillieu Government has abandoned work on a second river crossing after winding up a community reference group, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Tim Pallas said today.
The Westlink Community Reference Group (CRG) provided the Baillieu Government with a community perspective on developing the best possible scope, form and alignment of a second river crossing for Melbourne’s road users.
Last Thursday, members of the CRG were called together for only their second meeting since the change of government – they previously met in September 2011 and were told their services were no longer required.
The CRG was to operate until “the Westlink planning study is completed by the LMA (Linking Melbourne Authority).”
“The secret axing of the CRG clearly demonstrates that the Baillieu Government has abandoned plans for a second river crossing,” Mr Pallas said.
“Millions of dollars and thousands of hours were invested in planning and refining Westlink’s scope and design and Mr Baillieu has now abolished community input altogether.
“Sir Rod Eddington and Infrastructure Australia have rated the Baillieu Government’s proposed East West Link a low priority. In addition, this project is likely in itself to destroy the viability of Mr Baillieu’s promised Doncaster Rail Link.”
Mr Pallas said Sir Rod Eddington had clearly indicated that the west to east transport needs of Melbourne should be the priority.
“The Maribyrnong screenline shows a very substantial increase in travel demand in the morning peak from west to east – a demand that existing transport infrastructure will not be able to meet. “This is supported by other evidence indicating that growth in cross town movements is likely to be significantly greater from west to east than in the other direction – in other words, “west-east” travel rather than “east-west” travel.” – Eddington Report 2008, page118
Against this advice, Mr Baillieu has described the road from the East to the Tullamarine as his number one priority. But his Government’s submission to Infrastructure Australia made it clear that a full road connection will be completed in multiple stages and take many years. From this it is clear that the most important project, the second river crossing, could be a decade away.
“The Baillieu Government promised 1509 days ago to deliver an integrated transport policy, but as Victorians know, Mr Baillieu is all talk and no action,” Mr Pallas said.
“Without appropriate infrastructure the road congestion from the western suburbs into Melbourne will continue to worsen because the Baillieu Government continues to do nothing.”