In a breathtaking press release, Baillieu’s tunnel plan a black hole for Victorians, Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas and Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula pre-announce (?) an opposition announcement for a tunnel from the end of the Eastern Freeway. After the predictable preamble on costings, Minister Pallas says:
“This project will mean cars pouring into residential streets in inner city suburbs of Collingwood, Carlton, North Carlton, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy and Parkville.
“It will mean a giant hole in the heart of Royal Park, will impact wetlands, and put tunnel stacks and freeway ramps in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.”
Well yes, this is true, and this is why local ALP members such as Richard Wynne and Bronwyn Pike are dead against the tunnel in these increasingly marginal inner city seats.
The ALP have said the tunnel is not part of their transport plan, but continue to build roads that make the tunnel a necessity. (See: ALL ROADS LEAD TO COLLINGWOOD)
In fact the $5billion West-Link project is an extension of the same tunnel. In a funding submission to Infrastructure Australia, the ALP admitted that the West-Link investment does not make sense until it is followed by the notorious East-West tunnel. Infrastructure Australia refused to support the mega road, but Pallas is building it anyway. See Freeway not worth the cost, The Age May 21 2010
Labor is also planning the North-East link and is bulldozing the Peninsula Link through heritage listed bushland. Like East-Link, these roads also make more sense with the East-West tunnel. Stealthily the East-West tunnel feeder roads are being built. Minister Pakula said, “The tunnel under the cemetery is not part of our 12-year transport plan and will not be part of Labor’s election policy “. But the secret VicRoads 2040 plan shows the freeway is still well and truly on the agenda.
The road lobby is very patient and knows that no government lasts for ever. The ALP will continue to facilitate the East-West tunnel feeders, to a point where the tunnel becomes a fait accompli. Whenever a Liberal government is elected in Victoria, they will do what the ALP is politically unable to do. The ALP will criticize it, but not actually try to stop it. The Liberal’s will not be too fussed about “latte-sipping greenies” in electorates where the Liberal’s party votes is virtually non-existent, and play to the congestion created by the ALP’s road-building. And the ALP will be grateful for someone else to do the deed.