Labor and the Leftist loonies

Herlad Sun: Labor and the Leftist loonies. 14 September 2014

‘Ratepayers are likely to find it bumpy going over the next few years as the two Left-wing councils consider raising rates to recover money they have no place in spending in the first place.’

Instead of concentrating on repairing roads in their municipalities, Yarra and Moreland councils are more concerned with demolishing the Victorian Government’s mega project to revolutionise Melbourne’s transport system.

The councils should stick to filling in potholes. That would cost considerably less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have spent in trying to overturn the first stage of the East West Link.

More than $100,000 has gone on everything from car stickers and posters condemning the road and tunnel project to registering “Trains Not Toll roads’’ domain names.

And then there are the lawyers’ fees. The councils have spent a massive $500,000 on legal costs in mounting a challenge in the Supreme Court that Labor leader Daniel Andrews hopes will give him an excuse to tear up the East West contracts.

Ratepayers are likely to find it bumpy going over the next few years as the two Left-wing councils consider raising rates to recover money they have no place in spending in the first place.

Ratepayers must be wondering whether they are being represented by some of the ratbags who blocked traffic and climbed up drilling rigs at some of the East West test sites.

Yarra Council went so far as to move a disabled car parking space so demonstrators did not have to move their protest caravan. Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky considered towing the caravan away would have been “pretty extreme’’.

More extreme is the vast sum being spent to have the Napthine Government’s contract process declared invalid in the Supreme Court, which is not only unlikely but will see even more ratepayers’ money wasted as the case drags on into December.

If Mr Andrews wins the election, it will be the taxpayers of Victoria who will be the biggest losers.

Mr Andrews has performed an extraordinary backflip after promising he would honour any contracts for the $8 billion first stage.

Now, he says he won’t oppose the council challenge, which means the state will have effectively welshed on the multi-billion first stage and exposed Victorians to hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation claims.

Lend Lease, which is a member of the preferred tenderer for the East West Link, has won a long-running battle with the NSW Government over profit-sharing at the $6 billion Barangaroo development in central Sydney. The Government will have to forgo about $400 million in expected profits and pay Lend Lease’s legal fees. They are likely to do the same in Victoria. Failing to honour contracts signed in good faith by the Napthine Government will result in similar claims.

Victoria’s reputation will have been trashed in the process and future projects will be put in jeopardy. Who will business do with a state that breaks its word on a project that is to cost $13 billion, if it is ever completed?

Victorians will be entitled to question whether Mr Andrews has the leadership qualities required in a premier if he is to devolve authority to municipal councillors who may be knocking on his door with schemes similar to some of the more bizarre projects they have come up with in the past.

Moreland councillors wanted to rip up traditional bluestone laneways and replace them with cement to provide cyclists and residents in wheelchairs with a smoother surface.

Yarra councillors wanted sidewalk restaurant owners to provide blankets to keep their customers warm, instead of greenhouse gas-producing heaters.

Labor under Mr Andrews is showing the same sort of weird-and-wacky tendencies that are likely to bring the state of Victoria to financial ruin.

There is also the possibility that once he becomes premier, he will do another U-turn and leave the councillors standing at the roadside, as well as the Victorians who might vote for him. Mr Andrews is an accident waiting to happen.

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