Production of Documents: East West Link Project (17.04.2013)
Written on the 22 April 2013
Debate resumed from 20 March; motion of Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan):
That this house requires the Leader of the Government to table in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 16 April 2013, a copy of:
(1) all documents relating to the 'Route alignments peer reviewed and short-listed' and 'Communications and engagement strategy finalised' referred to on page 3 of 'East-west link reform and investment framework -- stages 1 to 6', August 2012', which formed part of the east-west link submission to Infrastructure Australia;
(2) the agenda, minutes, any attachments to the minutes and any presentations or materials tabled in relation to each meeting of the Department of Transport's east-west steering committee to date;
(3) all documents (including invitees list, agenda, minutes where they exist and the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation used) relating to a briefing, held on 17 July 2012 at the Treasury building, on the development of a business case for the east-west link; and
(4) all minutes and other documentation of meetings held with over 40 entities by the Minister for Roads and/or Department of Transport representatives relating to the proposed east-west tunnel infrastructure project, which are referenced in the media release 'East-west link is declared under major transport projects act'.
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to rise to speak briefly to the debate on the east-west link documents motion that has been brought before the house this afternoon. In doing so I pick up Mrs Peulich's point about the infrastructure deficit left by the former government when the coalition government came to power in 2010. It was evident that during the time the previous government was in power Melbourne had increased significantly in size in terms of population numbers and the expansion of various growth corridors and that there was a real lack of planning that went into servicing those communities. Consequently we were left with an enormous backlog of road projects and traffic congestion on a daily basis.
Anyone who travels within those major corridors on a regular basis will understand that they are highly utilised and that there is a real need for this project to get up and running. It is an important project. I note that Mr Albanese, the federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, made his announcement in the last few weeks about the fast rail project from Melbourne to Brisbane via a number of places. That is an enormous project, which will cost well in excess of $100 billion in today's terms. It is going to be delivered somewhere in the vicinity of 2050.
We are talking about infrastructure projects here and now that can make a real difference to Victoria's economy, will improve productivity and will assist with improving livability in this state.
I go back to the coalition government's announcement in 2011 of its priority infrastructure projects for Victoria. The then Premier, Ted Baillieu, flagged this project as a priority for the government. It was going to be a once-in-a-generation project that would make an enormous difference to the way that people were able to get around Melbourne and improve their livability standards. If you go back in history, you see it was Liberal governments that undertook CityLink and the city rail loop and finished those very large projects. We saw very few of those major infrastructure projects under the former government. It is up to a coalition government to get things moving again.
Mr Barber -- Thought of taking the train?
Ms CROZIER -- They take a train as well, Mr Barber. People do not always have to drive. I know Mr O'Brien catches the train to Melbourne on a regular basis. He regularly travels by train to hearings of the committee of which he is a member. I am not saying that he does not do it, but there are many people and many industries in our city and in our state that rely on good reliable transport corridors.
The east-west link project will be a very important project for the city of Melbourne and for our state, and for the Greens to be talking about pedal power and every other jolly power that they seem to talk about shows a lack of understanding of what the majority of people want and need. I do not know how Mr Barber gets to work on a daily basis. I suppose by bicycle, train, car or tram -- maybe it is all of those modes of transport. Nevertheless, many people rely on driving to get from where they live to central Melbourne.
Just recently we heard Mr Guy talking about real projects in local areas like Frankston -- he mentioned this yesterday -- so that people do not have to travel to and fro and can work in their local areas. There are very significant projects in other areas of our city. The east-west project will link our regional areas and our suburbs to various parts of Melbourne. It is a worthy project that needs support.
I am pleased that the federal opposition leader, Tony Abbott, has come out in support of the project, with a realistic figure and a realistic project that can be delivered, unlike Mr Albanese who flings around great big figures and great big fanciful ideas. This project is a priority under the coalition government, and I am pleased that Infrastructure Australia has also backed the east-west link.
Preliminary work has already been undertaken to look at this project. It is not something that is a thought bubble or a notion. Mr Andrews has called it a 'grand hoax', which is just a silly statement. We are uncertain if Mr Andrews knows what direction east or west is or what the project is called, and there is serious division between his party and the Greens about the idea. I am sure members of his own party who represent people in the western suburbs will be very grateful for the project when it is realised.
As I said at the outset, Mrs Peulich highlighted the infrastructure deficit left by the previous government. This government has put aside significant amounts of money -- record levels of money -- to fund infrastructure projects, and this is just one of them. The Minister for Roads, Mr Mulder, and others who have been working on the different aspects of the project should be congratulated. With those words, I note that we will not be opposing the documents motion, but again I say that this is an important infrastructure project that we should all be supporting.