Media Release from the Leader of the Opposition

Wednesday, 31 July, 2013

NAPTHINE’S $8 BILLION TUNNEL A DUD DEAL WITH NO MANDATE

Labor is calling on Denis Napthine to take his $8 billion tunnel project to the Victorian people at the next state election and secure a mandate for spending billions of taxpayers’ money on a five kilometre tunnel in Melbourne’s inner city.

Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Andrews, said the $8 billion project has not been tested on economic grounds because Infrastructure Australia refused to assess the State Government’s shoddy business case.

“No one voted for Denis Napthine or this $8 billion road tunnel. In fact the Liberal Party opposed it in 2010,” Mr Andrews said.

“The Victorian public know very little about this project apart from glossy brochures, artist impressions and animated videos.”

Mr Andrews said Victorian Labor could not support the $8 billion tunnel and Victorians could also not be expected to support it given the lack of information and community consultation.

“Denis Napthine must tell Victorians why this is the best way to spend their money and why this $8 billion tunnel is really the biggest priority for this state,” Mr Andrews said.

“He must explain why this single 5 kilometre road has been prioritised over every other road and rail project across Victoria.”

“The Premier has not outlined what this $8 billion tunnel will do for commuters driving in to Melbourne from Geelong, Ballarat, the fast growing suburbs in the north and the west, or for motorists on the Nepean Highway, the Monash Freeway or the Western Ring Road.

“Crucially he has failed to explain how the $8 billion tunnel will stop the gridlock on Hoddle Street that greets the large number of motorists who exit the Eastern Freeway before the point where the $8 billion tunnel will begin.”

Mr Andrews said that, under the timeframe outlined in the Government’s Expression of Interest document, Denis Napthine intends to sign a contract with the private sector only weeks out from the caretaker period ahead of the 2014 election.

“If Denis Napthine is confident this $8 billion tunnel is the best project to address the state’s transport needs and if he can guarantee it will be delivered without further cuts to hospitals, schools and TAFE then he should have no problem letting the Victorian people decide,” he said.

Mr Andrews said Victorian Labor will release a detailed transport alternative before the end of 2013.

“We are doing the work and we are prepared to put our alternative to the people a year before they vote. The question is, will Denis Napthine do the same?”

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