Denis Napthine dodges federal funding question over east-west link

The Age: Denis Napthine dodges federal funding question over east-west link. February 12, 2014. Richard Willingham. State Political Correspondent for The Age

Premier Denis Napthine on Wednesday refused to detail how much federal money is needed to start stage two of Melbourne’s east-west link and Melbourne Metro rail project, despite the projects heading his government’s wish-list of infrastructure plans.

Asked by the media how much Commonwealth money was needed, Dr Napthine twice dodged the question, saying the meeting was productive and positive.

“We expect we will have ongoing dialogue,” Dr Napthine said.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said it is not for the Commonwealth to fund urban rail, and Dr Napthine also refused to say if Mr Abbott had changed his mind on Melbourne Metro rail.

The loss of Toyota on Monday has been followed by fears Alcoa could announce its closure in a few weeks.

Dr Napthine said Alcoa had been monitoring the situation and that it would make its decision by the middle of the year.

He also said the expansion of Webb Dock would not be hampered by the closure of Toyota.

The Premier was speaking in Rowville at the opening of Paul’s Milk UHT plant expansion, which has created 30 new jobs. The Premier said the new jobs were “symbolic” of jobs growth in the state.

“We are about growing jobs and opportunities,” Dr Napthine said.

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