Where do the Parties stand on the East West Link?

Melbourne is growing fast and our farmland and bush are been ripped up for sprawling suburbs of widely spaced houses with double garages and no public transport to speak of. It’s 70km from Caroline Springs to Beaconsfield. And everyone wants to drive into the inner city.

But Brunswick’s streets can’t fit any more cars and our public transport can’t keep up.

The East West toll road is the most expensive road project in Victoria’s history (and three times the cost of Labor’s Wonthaggi desalination plant). The cost will ensure no significant investment in new public transport for at least a decade – there’s more on the cost below.

The tunnel will be cut as a trench through Royal Park, cutting tram and train routes to the city for an unknown time, including the busy capital city bike trail. The south west corner of Royal Park will become a spaghetti junction of freeway flyovers.

So where do the parties stand? 

  • The Greens have opposed this toll road project since it was first proposed by the Brumby government. Adam Bandt has campaigned against it since the project was resurrected in early 2012. We have said all year that we will cancel any contract.
  •  Labor has been saying they will honour contracts, but just shifted their position in September, to saying they will cancel the contract if the judicial review sought by Moreland and Yarra councils finds against the planning process. This requires a judge to rule against the planning approval. We’re delighted that Labor has moved this far, partly in response to pressure from the Greens in seats like Brunswick.
  •  The Greens' opposition to the East West toll road is not conditional on a court case. We will legislate to void both the contract and any cancellation fee.

How much would the East-West Link cost? Kenneth Davidson examines this in detail and explains that the full project could be a lot more expensive than the stated $16 – 18 billion cost. It is financed by a public private partnership (PPP) which is similar to borrowing at 8 to 10% per year, more than double the government borrowing rate of 4%. Victorians will pay the private owners of the toll road up to $2 billion per year for at least the next 20 years to top up the tollway income. Compare this to Victoria’s entire transport and communications budget of about $6 billion per year or the $3 billion per year we spend on public housing.

We will not support any government that intends to build this toll road. Will you stand with us?

- Tim.