See the article on Monday 27 June 2011 with the extraordinary news “Wells plans to fix projects dilemma.” .
Here is my comment written for the on line comments on the article (it was not printed) Neither were any letters printed on the subject:
The Treasurer The Hon Kim Wells appears to have a gung ho attitude to building freeways. We would like to ask – why aren’t these announcements coming from the Minister for Transport? Why is the Treasurer deciding? We suspect who is behind these ideas – Sir Rod Eddington, who is now said to be advising the NSW Government. The East West Link, through the inner suburbs and Royal and Holland Parks, to the Port and City Link, was Sir Rod’s idea but it was rejected after an extensive review by Government in 2008 and a widespread citizens’ revolt and was, consequently, not included in the Brumby 2008 Transport Plan. (Note that the North East Link is also back on the agenda)
People have been pushing for public transport, including the Doncaster Rail Link and the Railway to Tullamarine Airport, NOT for freeways. These railway projects were pre-election promises made by Premier Ted Baillieu. So what’s happened to them?
And as for the arrant nonsense that we have to start big road projects because skilled workers will leave Victoria and go to NSW and Queensland! Brumby promoted the huge Peninsula Link project on the grounds that it would give locals in Frankston steady employment for years but what did they find? Queenslanders took most of the jobs! The Victorian unions had a lot to say about this issue.
The last point which should be made is – who is paying for these mega projects? The Federal Government refused to fund WestLink under Footscray and the East West Link (the extension of the Eastern Freeway.) Planning for WestLink has nearly been completed but where are the funds?
In our view it is essential that we cut back overseas skilled migration to sustainable numbers, get commuters onto public transport and freight onto rail. We need to undertake public transport projects not road construction. Unless we do this car ownership will continue to increase. By 2036 there will be at the present rate of increase, according to Monash University Centre for Population and Social Research , 3.5 million cars on Melbourne’s roads ie adding up to one big traffic jam!