Frankston MP Geoff Shaw says he now won’t support Government’s East West Link pledge

Herald Sun: Frankston MP Geoff Shaw says he now won’t support Government’s East West Link pledge. Matt Johnston, Annika Smethurst. 29 August 2014

Suspended Frankston MP Geoff Shaw has recanted his support for the $6-8 billion East West Link tunnel, the Napthine Government’s signature election-year project.

Four days before his return to Parliament — if he offers a formal apology over the misuse of his parliamentary car — Mr Shaw issued a statement attacking the toll road and what he called “Kevin Rudd-type figures” on its cost.

The Government quickly dismissed this, saying Mr Shaw previously backed the 6km tunnel from the Eastern Freeway to CityLink in Parkville.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien pointed out that last year Mr Shaw spoke in Parliament about the need for the project, before voting in support.

Mr Shaw said in August 2013 that the project’s “ticks” were the 3200 jobs, which sounded “terrific”. But he did then also question the “extraordinary amount of money”.

Yesterday, Mr Shaw said of the cost: “That’s a billion dollars per kilometre, which is pretty much Kevin Rudd type figures when he was throwing money around on ludicrous projects like the roofing insulation installation fiasco.”

He said the cost was unjustifiable without a business case, which he thought the Government would release.

“The Coalition Government should be taking this project to an election,” he said.

Speaking to the Herald Sun last night, Mr Shaw said he now had more information on the project than last year, and as an independent MP he was entitled to scrutinise projects and to change his mind.

Government spokesman Larissa Garvin said that no new law was needed for the road, so Mr Shaw would have no vote on whether the project would go ahead.

Mr Shaw is due to return to Parliament on Tuesday, having this week repaid almost $7000 for misusing his parliamentary vehicle.

He said his apology would “probably be a verbal apology”.

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