Labor’s wink-and-nod support for the road

The Age – Letters: Labor’s wink-and-nod support for the road. August 27, 2014

Kenneth Davidson has exposed Labor’s policy on the East West Link (Comment, 25/8). It pretends to oppose the link for fear of losing seats to the Greens. Linking Melbourne Authority’s own comprehensive impact statement estimates that by 2031, the link will increase traffic: Earl Street, Kew (more than 10 per cent), Eastern Freeway (more than 20 per cent), Brunswick Road (more than 30 per cent) and much of it truck traffic. As for time savings, pull the other leg: in 1996 City Link projected big peak-hour time savings by 2011; John Odgers from RMIT found that ”average freeway speed per hour in the inner Melbourne region has dropped markedly in both the morning and evening peaks”. EWL will benefit only trucks and financiers. If Labor persists with its wink and nod support for the road, then those who care for Victoria will have to vote Green.

Charles Sowerwine, Moonee Ponds

Absurd justification

One wonders what are the real, but undisclosed, drivers of the ALP’s de facto policy on EWL. Labor’s Treasury spokesman Tim Pallas has said Labor’s support boils down to Victorians needing to understand that ”when the state of Victoria says they are going to do something, they do”. In these circumstances, where virtually no transport expert who has looked at the project believes it should proceed, and in the absence of any disclosed business case, one wonders why we have state elections if the major opposition party believes itself duty-bound to tag along behind the government with this prodigiously expensive and flawed project.

The influence of big business should not be ignored, either. Donations made to federally registered political parties will not be disclosed by the Australian Electoral Commission before the beginning of February 2016.

Ian Hundley, North Balwyn

Clear case of fiscal fraud

On my last trip to Melbourne, I enjoyed seeing a brilliant movie: Belle. Set in the late 18th century, it tackled many interesting themes, including the patent fraud of deliberately drowning slaves shortly before arriving in port, as the insurance payout was worth more than selling slaves in poor condition on arrival.

It struck me that the deliberate fraud propping up the slave trade had a perfect parallel with the East West Link. Given the legal requirement to act in the best interests of all Victorians (not bankers and other vested interests), and the ample research showing greater economic productivity from a first-class public transport network, building the EWL is a clear case of fiscal fraud.

Bernadette George, social planner, Emu Park, Queensland

Deliberately deceptive advertising

I am outraged by the Napthine government’s deliberately deceptive advertising in its recent newspaper ads, which told us about planned transport investment. In particular, the ads’ emphasis and sequencing. The emphasis is foremost on public transport – first the rail links (including the airport rail link) and then the public transport improvements in general.

Finally, there is discussion about the EWL and the widening of the Tullamarine freeway. The advertising seems to indicate that if we voted Liberal, rail links would be the priority, when it is patently clear that the Liberals’ priority is the EWL and roads in general, leaving little money for the rail it proclaims are ”key projects”. Such advertising also contradicts the Liberal Party’s website, which lists road improvements first, well before any public transport projects. The Liberals are obviously responding to polls telling them that public transport is very important for much of the electorate.

Lindy Fagan, Hampton

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