East West Link – On ne passe pas – No pasarán!

Update – 15 August 2015: A swift resolution to yesterdays palavar

Press Release from the Embassy of Spain on the Satisfactory resolution of the East West Link Project

The Embassy of Spain is very pleased to acknowledge the resolution of the Melbourne East West Link project announced today by Premier Daniel Andrews between the Government of Victoria and the East West Connect consortium.

This agreement, reached in good faith and to all parties’ satisfaction, will enable the Government of Victoria to strengthen the framework for infrastructure investment and to focus on future relevant initiatives. The consortium members will also be in a position to freely pursue future projects in the State of Victoria.

The Embassy of Spain avails itself of this opportunity to renew its commitment to further enhance the excellent relation with the present Government of Victoria.

Statement by His Excellency Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France to Australia on the agreement relative to the East West Link project – 15 April 2015

I’m not in a position to comment on the decisions taken by the Victorian government about the project itself.
As far as the agreement announced this morning is concerned, let me just say that I believe the Victorian government has acted in a responsible way. To my mind, the outcome is good news for Victoria, good for Australian and for the business relationship between France and Australia.

Since beginning my tenure in Australia one of my main concerns has been to promote and facilitate French investment in Australia. Obviously I haven’t been part of negotiations between the Victorian government and the Consortium. The outcome this morning is the result of responsible and fair negotiations between the concerned parties.

 

acciona poster IT
And in todays latest tanty – Spanish & French members of the East West Link Consortium need to be reminded of what the locals told them back in November 2014.

On ne passe pas – No pasarán! Melbourne no aceptará la autopista East West Link (6 November 2014)

La compañía española Acciona es parte del consorcio seleccionado para construir la primera fase de una carretera de peaje de 18 kilometros de largo que atravesara la cuidad de Melbourne en Australia.  El proyecto se llama el East West Link.

La carretera atravesaría una de las zonas más antiguas y densamente pobladas de la ciudad. Unas docenas de casas y negocios serán derribados y unos cientos de casas y negocios serán adquirido obligatoriamente. Imagínense que esto mismo pasara en los barrios de Madrid, o en las areas céntricas de Barcelona! More in link.

Tim Pallas, Victorian Treasurer, said today “I expect this to be resolved by the budget [on 5 May],”, so all this posturing is most likely about leveraging a compensation payout.

Have a spare moment? Why not contact the French & Spanish embassies and object to their intrusion into Victorian politics:

  • Christophe Lecourtier, the Ambassador of France to Australia: email: information.canberra-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr
  • Embassy of France contact details
  • Enrique Viguera, Spanish Ambassador email: emb.canberra@maec.es
  • Embassy of Spain contact details

Guardian Australia: East West Link: complaints from Spain and France won’t change Victoria’s mind. Tuesday 14 April 2015

State treasurer says Labor is determined to keep its election promise to dump the road and negotiations to axe the contract should be resolved by 5 May

Complaints from the Spanish and French governments will not change Victoria’s attitude to compensation for dumping the East West Link road tunnel, the state treasurer has said.

“They might not like the way that we’re proceeding about it, but I make no apology for protecting the interests of the Victorian taxpayer,” the treasurer, Tim Pallas.

The Spanish company Acciona and the French company Bouygues were part of a consortium that won the right to build the $6.8bn project.

The European governments had lodged a joint protest with the Labor government about the treatment of the tenderers, the Australian reported on Tuesday.

Pallas said the state government would not ignore international concerns.

“Obviously when matters of diplomatic moment are raised they have to be taken seriously,” he said. More in link

 

East West Link sparks Federal-State stoush while locals’ lives turned upside down

From ABC News​ Victoria & ABC 7.30​ (12 March 2015)
First up on ABC News Victoria: Tony Abbott believes East West Link is still a thing, then ABC 730 segment featuring Mary Fenelon on home acquisition issues & more on Daniel Andrews vs. Tony Abbott.

ABC 730: East West Link sparks Federal-State stoush while locals’ lives turned upside down

As the Victorian government tried to get out of the East West Link deal and avoid paying compensation for it, the Prime Minister is urging them not to and local residents are dealing with the ways their lives have already been irrevocably changed.

From Letters to The Age: Trapped in quagmire (12 March 2015)

On October 16 last year (147 days ago), 102 properties were compulsorily acquired by Linking Melbourne Authority for the East West Link. Since then, about 86 properties have been voluntarily acquired. Most owners remain in limbo, unable to move on with their lives as they wait for acquisitions to be reversed or finalised.

It has been 103 days since Labor won power in Victoria. This would seem a reasonable amount of time for the appropriate authority to unravel this complex mess that the Coalition forced on property owners. Anxious residents demand clarification and direction. Surely it is not too much to ask that the Victorian government communicate and assure us of its plans and timetable to resolve this mess.

Keith Fitzgerald, Collingwood

East West Link “Letter of Guarantee” demands investigation

YCAT Editorial

Here is a copy of the East West Link “side letter” to the consortium, signed by the Napthine Government that blackmails Victorian taxpayers.

The timing of this document being signed before November 2014 State Election surely demands further investigation via either a Royal Commission, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), if it had beefed up powers or a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Surely former Treasurer Michael O’Brien would be aware of the principles of accountability and good governance put forward by The Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC:

  • Govern for the peace, welfare and good government of the State;
  • Make all decisions and take all actions, including public appointments, in the public interest without regard to personal, party political or other immaterial considerations;’
  • Treat all people equally without permitting any person or corporation special access or influence; and
  • Promptly and accurately inform the public of its reasons for all significant or potentially controversial decisions and actions.

The former treasurer treated people with contempt when putting the political interests of the former State LNP government ahead of the public interest.

It appears that the former treasurer was prepared to give away $1.2 billion of Victorian’s funds to a foreign consortium just to hide the incompetence of a project that was always of the rails.

At the time of signing, he knew that the Andrews Government had committed to walk away from the project, and he knew the polls predicted an ALP win. So the deal was done purely to stop the consortium walking away before the election instead of after.

A cowardly deal.

East West Link Letter of Guarantee and Allan Myers QC Legal Advice by Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT)

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