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Alastair Taylor's picture

The Bolte-Hamer-Thompson era (pre CAin-Kirner) - blue bloody liberal - had the highest Debt to GSP ratio of all Vic Governments. And all that debt financed infrastructure.

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Melbman's picture

^^ Very true. I think the appetite for debt these days is very much reduced post-GFC though.

The rating agencies are running the decisions these days as govts try to hold onto their AAA status.

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James Adams's picture

Funny that PTV CEO Ian Dobbs, another Kennett-era relic, has just got off the plane from Europe and he's raving about debt too: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/big-borrowing-key-to-public-transport-...

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Alastair Taylor's picture

hahah. Let's see how this goes - I want to know more about how the Euros are taking stuff off the balance sheet and still borrowing.

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Mark Baljak's picture

Unions back east-west link project

September 10, 2013
Ben Schneiders, Clay Lucas

Major building unions have offered support for the Coalition's plans to build the east-west link, despite Labor's opposition to Victoria's largest project.
The support for the road tunnel under North Carlton, linking the Eastern Freeway in Clifton Hill to CityLink in Flemington, comes despite the animosity between the Napthine government and building unions.
The state government has tried to crack down on building unions amid claims they are driving up the costs of major projects.
Unions allege that the east-west link will be used as a ''political football'' to attack them by state and federal governments.
The Coalition has promised $1.5 billion for the $6 billion-$8 billion project.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/unions-back-eastwest-link-project-2013...

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Of course they would, they'd be saying the same thing for Melb Metro (sparky union more so probably).

moving right along.

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Martin Mankowski's picture

The Building Unions would throw their support behind plans to build the Death Star if it meant getting some work out of it!

I certainly hope Napthine isn't hanging his hat on this as validation for his pungent project. Nor his ridiculous claim that the federal election was somehow a referendum on the EW Link in Victoria. His rhetoric is starting to sound a little desperate; which can only be a good thing I suppose.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Comprehensive Impact Statement for the East-West link was released today.

Average vehicle speeds across Melbourne in 2031:

  • with East-West link: 53 km/h
  • without East-West link: 53 km/h

By 2031 building East-West link will:

  • increase the number of car trips by 0.046%
  • decease the number of public transport trips by 0.033%
  • result in no change in the number of heavy vehicle trips.

So according to the model that was designed to produce the best possible outcome for the east-west link here is what Melbourne will get for $8 billion dollars:

  • Overall travel speeds will not be reduced by any signification amount.
  • The number and speed of freight movements will not increase by any significant amount.
  • Overall traffic levels will increase and East-West link will encourage people to drive more and switch from public transport to cars.
  • Traffic levels on the existing Eastern freeway will increase by 40-50% and it will be widened by an additional 6 lanes to make it 16 lanes wide!
  • The East-West link will not reduce traffic levels on Hoddle Street.
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Martin Mankowski's picture

Surprise, surprise...

Who would have thought a freeway would actually 'induce' traffic?

And whilst i don't support Doncaster rail being built now, using the reservation for more freeway lanes, and effectively removing the option of ever building the rail line, is nothing short of alarming.

Just another reason added to an already long list, of why we can't build this dog of a project.

East-west link report contradicts Premier's traffic claim
November 17, 2013
Farrah Tomazin

Premier Denis Napthine's pledge that the east-west link will be a ''congestion-busting'' project has been undermined by the government's own figures showing traffic on the Eastern Freeway will soar by as much as 50 per cent once the $8 billion tunnel is built.
As the Coalition embarks on a $3.2 million advertising blitz to spruik the controversial road, official forecasts reveal that inbound and outbound traffic on the suburban arterial will continue to rise, even after the project has been completed.
''The strategic modelling results indicate that traffic volumes increase along the Eastern Freeway by between 40 and 50 per cent. The volumes increase along both carriageways by approximately the same percentage,'' says the comprehensive impact statement for the east-west link.
Asked about the figures, the Linking Melbourne Authority attributed the growth to more motorists using the Eastern Freeway after the tunnel is built because they will have another option to cross the city. In a bid to accommodate the extra traffic, the government plans to widen the freeway between Hoddle Street and Yarra Bend Road, building two additional lanes on part of the median strip that was reserved for a Doncaster rail line.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/eastwest-link-report-contradicts-premi...

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Mark Baljak's picture

East-west link: Scrap second stage, says council

December 3, 2013
Aisha Dow

The state government should scrap a second stage of the east-west link and encase controversial Royal Park freeway flyovers in sound tubes or dirt mounds, a Melbourne City Council report has recommended.

City planners have accused the Napthine government of failing to make an adequate case for a new elevated road alongside CityLink to Footscray.

They have called for the proposed Port road link to be dumped and major design changes to be made to flyovers planned at Parkville.

Three alternative designs were unveiled in the document prepared in response to the east-west link comprehensive impact statement. They are:

■ A wetland, where freeway flyovers are enclosed in sound tubes and unused land underneath used for water storage and wildlife habitat.

■ An earth mound, where ramps rising to meet CityLink are buried by a large soil mound from the Upfield rail line to Manningham Road.

■ An alternative ramp alignment, where ramps are realigned or buried to preserve 55 homes and much of Ross Straw Field.

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle said each uncosted design had its selling points. He said a new wetland could meet the future water needs of Royal Park while a grass-covered hill enveloping the roads would save the government money carting away soil from the tunnel.

He said the huge mound would see a net gain in parklands, with the new grassy lookout boasting ''remarkable'' views of the city skyline.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/eastwest-link-scrap-second-stage-says-...

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Mark Baljak's picture

Fund rail to rescue jobs, Napthine urges Abbott
December 17, 2013

Josh Gordon, Clay Luca

Premier Denis Napthine is pleading with the Abbott government to ''bring forward'' Commonwealth infrastructure funding to offset the pain caused by the looming end of manufacturing by Holden.
Dr Napthine revealed before a meeting of federal cabinet on Monday evening to discuss the car industry crisis he has been pushing for several ''significant'' yet-to-be announced infrastructure projects for Victoria, potentially including a second stage of the east-west link connecting the Tullamarine Freeway to the Western Ring Road, the Metro rail project and public transport improvements.
The plea comes ahead of the release of a report warning that Australia's ship-building industry will grind to a halt from 2015 unless major orders for new warships and submarines are brought forward.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/fund-rail-to-rescue-jobs-napthine-urge...

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Mark Baljak's picture

Federal billion for second stage of Melbourne's East West Link

East-West road link

The Abbott government will commit more than a billion dollars to fund the second stage of the East West Link road under a deal hammered out with the Napthine government.
Fairfax Media has learned the federal and state governments have finally reached agreement on Canberra’s contribution to the road in recent days.
The agreement is expected to be formally announced later this week, just days before the Victorian and federal budgets are handed down.

Canberra's contribution of just over $1 billion is designed to bring forward the second stage of the project, which connects the Tullamarine Freeway to the Western Ring Road, and could see preliminary work begin as soon as next year.
But the $1 billion package falls short of the amount Victoria had hoped for from Canberra, raising the prospect that the state government will have to reduce the scope of the project or find extra funds.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-billion-for-second-stage-...

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Martin Mankowski's picture

The 2nd stage scares me more than the first.

Now that they are saying the 2nd stage is underfunded and there will have to be a reduction in scope and cost, this will almost certainly mean a bridge, and not a tunnel, will be crossing the Maribyrnong. This means part of the freeway will run overground through Footscray.

I am already philosophically opposed to this project, however now that I will potentially have a freeway 100 metres from my doorstoop, I think I will be joining the protesters chaining myself to the fence every morning if this gets up!

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Alastair Taylor's picture

I'll insist on daily updates exclusively for UM if that happens :)

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Melbman's picture

The feds will now pump in $1.5 billion for this 2nd section, which is a $3 billion total investment in the entire East-West Link by them. Decent money, but one would think if they viewed it as such an important project that this would get the same priority as Sydney's cash bonanza for their 2nd airport infrastructure, but hey we can't hope for miracles.

We do need more PT investment, but I think its very clear that money flows far easier from private investors for a toll road than it does for trains. Today's Transurban CityLink announcement was a very strong indicator of that.

If only more unsolicited proposals would flow in for Metro Rail, we would be fine :)

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Qantas743's picture

Abbott's Government is firmly entrenched in Sydney/NSW. It's not just the 2nd Sydney Airport; they've also given $1.8 billion for WestConnex and more billions are expected as part of a roads package to serve the new airport and the wider Western Sydney area.

We just get thrown the crumbs as an apology for shutting down the car industry!

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Mark Baljak's picture

Lend Lease consortium preferred bidder for East West link

Lend Lease, as part of a consortium, has been awarded preferred bidder status to work on Victoria's $8 billion East West Link project.
The East West Connect Consortium of Capella Capital, Lend Lease, Acciona and Bouygues will enter into final negotiations to deliver the eastern section of the road project, being 6 kilometres connecting the Eastern Freeway with CityLink and including a tunnel.
Victorian Treasurer Michael O'Brien said East West Connect had significant experience delivering projects of this size and scale in Australia and overseas.
"Following an extensive evaluation process, the Victorian government will now enter into exclusive negotiations with East West Connect to deliver what is one of the world's largest infrastructure projects currently out to tender," he said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/lend-lease-consortium-preferred-...

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Martin Mankowski's picture

Phew! Thank God for that. Lets hope some of the funding can be redirected to the Metro.


Labor to dump East-West Link if elected, even if contracts are signed

September 11, 2014 - 12:54PM

Josh Gordon, Henrietta Cook



The East West Link will be dumped if Labor wins the state election, even if business contracts to build the multibillion-dollar road have already been signed.

In a high-stakes gamble that will set a clear battle line for the November 29 poll, Labor has confirmed if it forms government it will use a looming court battle to render the contract for the eastern section of the project invalid.

The extraordinary move follows high-level legal advice from former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein, administrative law expert Richard Niall, QC, and contract law expert Siobhan Keating.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/labor-to-dump-eastwest-link-if-elected...

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Melbman's picture

^^ There will be no funding saved as this will open up litigation of potentially billions of dollars.

Its a high stakes gamble they are playing to appease those who were likely to vote for the Greens in inner city seats that were under threat of having the seats lost by Labor.

Labor have supported this East-West project for many years until it saw a point of difference to support PT investment. It knows the reality of the difficulty funding those projects all too well from its time in govt previously, which is why so much went into road projects in the past decade or more. Nothings changed in that regard.

The reality is that even though it states that legal advice points to this being possible to rip up a contract, the likely litigation proceedings from the preferred bidders will likely make this move as bad as anyone has suggested in the past.

Good luck with no realistic major projects being delivered for another few years minimum, especially by the time the new govt would have sorted out its plans.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

The ABC 7:30 VIC interview with Daniel Andrews was fantastic, Josie Taylor was not having any bullshit!

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Mark Baljak's picture

Melbourne Metro better for state than East West Link, government emails reveal

The Napthine government's most senior transport planners detailed the superior economic return a rail tunnel under the city would bring to Melbourne compared with the East West Link, emails obtained by The Age reveal.
The emails show the planners calculated the rail tunnel would return $1.90 for every $1 invested compared with $1.40 for the road tunnel.
But the government dumped that rail plan early this year and has pressed ahead with the $6.8-billion road tunnel. If the Coalition wins next Saturday's election, construction is due to start this year.
The emails detailing the higher "benefit-cost ratio" of the Melbourne Metro project compared with the East West Link were released under freedom of information to Labor.
In the emails, the Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure's rail tunnel project director, Adele McCarthy, tells the government's transport investment director Geoff Oulton and others the benefits of Melbourne Metro far outweigh the economic return of the East West Link.
The emails were sent in July 2013, soon after cabinet decided to proceed with the East West Link.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014/melbourne...


East West Link cancellation ‘would hurt Australia’s reputation’

THE cancellation of Melbourne’s East West Link could harm Australia’s reputation as a destination for infrastructure investors, according to the World Economic Forum’s head of real estate.

Speaking after an investment summit in Sydney yesterday, Michael Buehler said the private sector depended on reliable funding to generate revenue over four or five decades, and political risks including cancellations and contract changes would be priced into any investment.

“If the risks for certain investments are too high, then they can’t compete, and the whole infrastructure asset class will fall apart,” he said.

“You should not forget who the investors are. These are not speculators; they are pension funds and institutional investors. It’s the people’s money and they have to justify a return with certain risks and if the risk is not justifiable then they won’t go into that transaction,” Dr Buehler said.

Lend Lease is heading a consortium selected by the Victorian government to build Melbourne’s $8bn East West Link toll road.

But Labor has vowed to dump the plan if it wins the state election this month.


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Patrick Mougin's picture

And now that Labor has won the election, it will be intriguing to see how it all pans out. Tony Abbott has already tried to blackmail Andrews into supporting the link, but Andrews is sticking to his guns (and rightly so). There are many more ways to address the second crossing issue than building a multi-billion road for which no business case has been forthcoming publicly...

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Llib's picture


Precisely why we should invest in public transport because it has a higher capacity to handle a growing population.
Single occupant vehicles are not the most efficient way of handling large numbers of people getting from A to B.
He also states that electric cars will provide a solution to the environmental issues related to private car use. At the end of the day they are still mainly single occupant cars with the same lack of capacity.

One area that I agree with him is the introduction of congestion pricing although I doubt he would mention that again before the next election.

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