East-West Link gets the go ahead

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3AW: East-West Link gets the go ahead. 30 June, 2014

The eastern section of the East West Link has been given planning approval by the Napthine government.

However, Planning Minister Matthew Guy says the approval of project comes with conditions.

Among the changes, the Elliot Avenue interchange will not proceed as proposed and will instead be constructed with access to Flemington Road.

Under the new plans, most of Royal Park’s heritage-listed grounds will be spared.

The eastern flyover will also be redesigned.

Mr Guy has given the approval following recommendations from the Projects Assessment Committee.

He says it’s difficult to tell whether more or less homes will need to be acquired because of the changes.

Those bidding for the project will now have to re-work designs.

Mr Guy says the project remains on track, with contracts to be signed in October. Work is scheduled to conclude in 2019.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews says he will rip up the East-West Link plans if he wins the state election and extend Melbourne’s public transport system instead.

Speaking on 3AW Drive, Mr Andrews called on Dr Napthine to hold off on signing any new contracts and let Victorians decide whether they want trains or roads.

“This thing has been botched from start to finish. It’s $8 billion at stage one, $20 billion in total,” he said.

“The route keeps changing, the details keep changing and now Matthew Guy has apparently given a tick off to this project.

“He intends to sign contracts in October. As your listeners know, the election is in November.

“Why not let people across Victoria cast their own judgment and make up their own minds about whether this project is the project we need or whether this money should go into public transport?

“On today of all days, when we’ve seen the details of this project change yet again, I’m not going to give Denis Napthine some green light – ‘Oh, that’s fine if you want to sign contracts just weeks before the election.’

“I’m not accepting that. I don’t think that’s right. I think that’s a cowardly act.”

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