Consider the state and delay signing contract

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The Age: Letters – Consider the state and delay signing contract. September 17, 2014

Labor has backed the premier into a corner. If the Coalition goes ahead and signs contracts allowing for massive compensation for breaches, Dr Napthine will show himself as willing to sacrifice millions of taxpayer dollars for no reason. Only by delaying the signing of any contracts will he demonstrate he has the interests of the state at heart. The election has turned into a ballot on the East West Link.

John Pinniger, Fairfield

Raiding public purse for private benefit?

As the business case does not stack up and the project is not a vote-winner there has to be some reason behind the push for it, which raises suspicions of corruption. Since the tender process is also opaque, the most likely reason for the project is to secure campaign funding for the Coalition from freight and construction interests. Given that the public interest has not been demonstrated and the project does not break even, is this a case of raiding the public purse to fund private political interests? Compensation for a broken contract is a small price to pay when the legitimacy of public planning is at stake.

Kim Dovey, professor of architecture and urban design,

University of Melbourne

Government itself risks reputational damage

Kate Roffey, the CEO of the Committee for Melbourne, writes that the issue is not whether the link is ”the right project for the state but a question of the economic impact, and reputational damage” (BusinessDay, 12/9). So it doesn’t matter if taxpayers are getting value for money on projects, just so long as something, anything, is built? Rather than being concerned about upsetting businesses who most benefit from building the link, the ”reputational damage” should more appropriately refer to governments who saddle taxpayers with multibillion-dollar projects negotiated in secret that have no published cost-benefit analysis, do not have majority support and will effectively soak up any available funds for alternative projects for decades to come.

Neil Barker, Romsey

State hasn’t learnt federal lessons

Most voters agreed the federal budget deficit needed repair and would have supported fair action. However the government overreached, and tried to force through unfair, ideologically driven changes that the majority of the public has rejected. In Victoria, most voters would agree something needs to be done about transport and would have supported sensible action. But, again, government overreached and is using all its firepower on a six-kilometre solution. The government has failed to explain why this is the best solution; it hasn’t compared the outcomes of spending $8 billion on public transport and smaller road projects and has not convinced the public of the soundness of its strategy. Instead the government is using the looming election and the potential loss of federal funding to justify a quick decision. It appears not to have learnt any lessons from the federal government’s travails.

Peter Thomson, Richmond

Decongest the whole city

There is car congestion in Melbourne not only at peak hour but all day, in the evenings and on weekends, causing frustration for tradies, delivery trucks and the public. No single tunnel will solve the problem. People must be moved around in other ways than cars. Visit any major world city and see people moving by public transport. Find the tipping point – lower ticket prices for short trips, improved links and frequent, rapid service – until the benefits are clear to all. The cities we long to visit do not build freeways or haul heavy goods through the city centre. The government must plan for this future.

Julia White, Clifton Hill

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