Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
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Building the East-West Link

Today on behalf of the constituents of Deakin, I am very pleased to be able to speak about one of the largest infrastructure projects ever proposed in Melbourne, that being the East West Link. The East West Link project involves an 18-kilometre link between the Eastern Freeway and the Western Ring Road, including an eight-kilometre section linking the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway with a connection to the Port of Melbourne.

The coalition government will invest $1½ billion in Melbourne’s East West Link, and with this investment construction of the East West Link will be underway in 2014. The East West Link is a vital and necessary component of Melbourne’s road network and has the potential to provide significant travel, economic, business, employment and community benefits for Victoria and, in particular, residents and businesses in my electorate of Deakin.

The Victorian government has developed a business case that demonstrates the East West Link will deliver $1.40 in benefits for every dollar spent on the project. Infrastructure Australia also supports the East West Link and has identified it as being among projects which ‘clearly address a nationally significant issue or problem’.

During the election campaign, countless Deakin residents shared with me their frustration that traffic congestion was an ever-increasing problem in their lives. This worsening situation continues to result in Deakin residents spending more time in traffic on the Eastern Freeway and less time with their families or being productive. This traffic congestion has continued to erode their quality of life and also has major economic impacts that ultimately undermine small business, investment and job creation.

Our government’s commitment to provide $1½ billion to the East West Link will therefore give Deakin families more time to spend together instead of being stuck in traffic, and greater efficiency and opportunity for local small businesses. Our $1½ billion investment is proof that we will stop the former Labor government’s bickering with the states over road cost splits and will pay the Commonwealth government’s fair share.

Unlike the Labor Party, I am fighting for the infrastructure that Deakin residents so desperately need. During the election, the Labor Party opposed this crucial project because they were more interested in inner city Greens votes than helping improve the lives of people in Deakin. Importantly, the East West Link project will not only reduce traffic congestion and travel times but also provide a significant boost to local jobs with the creation of 3,200 jobs during the construction phase of the project. For all of these reasons, I am proud to be working hard to deliver this project to improve quality of life and economic opportunities for all of my constituents in the electorate of Deakin.