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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Statements by Members: Melbourne traffic congestion – East West Link

A couple of weeks ago I was very pleased to have the opportunity to address a very spirited group of people who gathered—in their hundreds—outside state parliament in Melbourne. It was to, once again, draw attention to the crippling impact of traffic congestion in my home town of Melbourne and to condemn Bill Shorten, Dan Andrews and Labor for their reckless and outrageously short-sighted decision to tear up the contracts to build the East West Link. Those in attendance at the rally came from all parts of our great city with many from my electorate of Deakin. It was fantastic to see so many people coming together to send such a strong message to Labor. As I have repeatedly said in this place, congestion on our roads in Melbourne is continuing to act as a handbrake on economic growth and productivity in Victoria. According to a recent report by Infrastructure Australia, this cost to the Victorian economy will soon reach as much as $9 billion per annum.

The same report also confirmed that the worst congestion hot spots are the roads between the Eastern Freeway and City Link, followed by the Eastern Freeway itself. The East West Link project would have clearly gone a long way to repairing these bottlenecks and creating 7,000 jobs in the process. It would have provided relief to motorists in Melbourne’s west, the inner city and of course, close to my heart, those in the eastern suburbs, particularly commuters in my electorate of Deakin. Indeed, research has shown that the completion of the East West Link project would save motorists in my electorate who use the Eastern Freeway daily up to three hours per week in travel time. As our population in Victoria grows by over 100,000 people per year, the need for the East West Link will just get greater; it will not diminish.

I want to say thank you to everyone for being at our Build the Link rally. Clearly, we have missed an opportunity because of Labor. Labor have decided instead to pander to the inner city Greens and to spend $640 million of taxpayers’ money to cancel a large road project—the largest single infrastructure project that has ever happened in Australia. But this government continues to be committed to the East West Link and $3 billion remains on the table for Victoria to build the East West Link. I was therefore pleased to be joined by many of my colleagues, including Allan Tudge, the member for Aston, a whole host of state members of parliament and the deputy leader of the Victorian opposition, David Hodgett, again ensuring that we are showing our commitment to this important project. I want to say to Labor, as I said to Labor on the day: this is not going away. We will get louder and we will continue to fight for the East West Link— (Time expired)

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