Leadership Test Looms For Liberals On The West Gate Tunnel

24 May 2018

As construction powers ahead on the Andrews Labor Government’s West Gate Tunnel, the Liberals are today faced with a test of leadership following the Greens again trying to revoke planning permission for this vital project.

The Liberals now have a clear choice – do they support jobs, getting trucks off local roads and relieving traffic congestion? Or will they again team up with the Greens to try and block this urgently needed project?

By attempting to revoke current planning permission, the Greens are trying to sack the more than 1,200 workers already building the project and stop the Labor Government’s 24-hour truck bans for residents in the inner west.

When the Liberals tried the same stunt in March, the move was slammed by industry and community groups.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Victorian Transport Association, the Urban Development Institute, and G21 Geelong have all repeatedly called on the Liberals and Greens not to take this reckless step.

In a statement published in major newspapers they said, “For Victoria’s sake, the Parliament must not stop the West Gate Tunnel,” calling the move “irresponsible”, and reiterating that “Melbourne needs an alternative to the West Gate Bridge – and this project delivers it.”

The RACV, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and the Committee for Ballarat also oppose the move.

The Maribyrnong Truck Action Group has previously hit out at the Greens, stating, “MTAG is bitterly disappointed at their decision to join with the Coalition to block parliamentary planning approvals for the West Gate Tunnel Project.”

The Greens have ignored community and industry pleas, and now the Liberals have to decide whether or not they’ll join them in this act of economic vandalism.

Over the last two and a half years, the West Gate Tunnel project has been through the most comprehensive planning approval process ever conducted for a Victorian road project.

The West Gate Tunnel project will cut 20 minutes travel time from the western suburbs, Geelong and Ballarat. It will also create more than 6,000 jobs, including 500 opportunities for apprentices, trainees and cadets.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan

“This is a huge test of Matthew Guy’s leadership – will he listen to industry and community groups and finally support the West Gate Tunnel, or will he side with the Greens to sack 1200 workers and cancel this urgently needed project?”

“Last time the Liberals and Greens teamed up to pull this stunt we saw immediately how urgently we need an alternative to the West Gate Bridge – a single truck crash on the West Gate Freeway caused complete traffic chaos.”

“The Greens have no plan to get trucks off local roads in the inner west – this shameless political stunt tells people in Yarraville, Seddon, Footscray and Williamstown that they will keep trucks rattling people’s front doors forever.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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