AI Group backs East-West Link and Port of Hastings

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ATN: AI Group backs East-West Link and Port of Hastings. 4 November 2014

Pre-election submission to major parties seeks more certainty on infrastructure

Ai Group backs East-West Link and Port of Hastings

An impression of the planned East West Link’s eastern entrance.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has joined transport and logistics organisations calling for an East-West Link go-ahead following the Victorian election.

Both the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have already recorded their support for the infrastructure that has become an election issue.

The Labor Party, which is leading polls of voter intentions, has signalled its opposition to the project.

In an agenda list that seeks “decisive policy action to help reinvigorate the State’s economy”, Ai Group Victorian director Tim Piper echoes transport industry sentiments.

“We also propose that the next government take a prominent role in lifting the State’s productivity, through sound investments in infrastructure, skills, and through encouraging innovation,” Piper says.

“In this context, we call on the next government to outline a rigorously-assessed pipeline of capital works. This would ensure industry has certainty around planning and that the construction industry has certainty around projects.

“We also call on both major parties to ensure that governments deliver on all signed contracts, including those related to the East-West Link.

“Investments like the East-West Link are vital to ease congestion for commuters and industry, and governments must recognise and honour the right of incumbents to sign contracts.”

Ai Group also backs the Port of Hastings, another development under a Labor cloud, as the site of an alternative container port, “subject to rigorous cost-benefit analysis”.

Not all its positions are at odds with the poll leaders, though.

With Labor promising an independent planning body, Infrastructure Victoria, to prioritise projects, Ai Group calls for something similar, namely “a Victorian agency to better coordinate the planning, prioritisation and execution of infrastructure projects throughout the state”.

It also wants congestion-busting reforms including:

better provision of real-time information by governments about transport options and network conditions
investment in new and smarter transport infrastructure to keep up with population pressures
pricing reform to improve utilisation and efficiency in the use of transport infrastructure.

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