Bid to postpone Vic road link fails

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Nine News: Bid to postpone Vic road link fails. 24 September 2014

A Brunswick resident has lost his bid to put Melbourne’s controversial East West Link project on hold until after the state election.

Anthony Murphy had sought an injunction preventing the Victorian government from signing contracts for the building of the $8 billion roadway, while he continues his legal fight against the plan.

His application was dismissed in the Court of Appeal, with Justices David Beach, Geoffrey Nettle and Joseph Santamaria ruling the injunction would impose “profound” losses on the government and its construction contractor.

Michael Wyles QC for the consortium chosen to build the roadway, East West Connect, said the delay in signing the contracts was costing it more than $600,000 a fortnight.

State government barrister Mark Moshinksy QC said if the injunction was granted the state government was risking an 100 million euros ($A150 million) foreign exchange loss.

It could also face a potential $A130 million loss if interest rates went up by one per cent, he said.

But Ron Merkel QC, for Mr Murphy, said the taxpayers would lose out if the project actually went ahead.

“The loss to the public may be huge by the execution of this project, not by restricting it,” he said.

“We say this is a loss-making project.”

The Victorian government goes into caretaker period on November 4 ahead of the November 29 election.

Mr Murphy is arguing the East West Link, which would link the Eastern Freeway to the western suburbs, is based on deceptive and misleading figures.

His argument was rejected in the Victorian Supreme Court earlier this month, but he has appealed that decision.

Justices Beach, Nettle and Santamaria, who are also ruling on the appeal, have reserved their decision until Monday at the latest.

The government has given an undertaking that it will not sign any East West Link contracts until Monday at 10am.

Mr Merkel indicated Mr Murphy may appeal the court’s decision to reject the injunction in the High Court.

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