Melbourne’s East West Link under threat

Property Council of Australia: Melbourne’s East West Link under threat. 22 Sep 2014

The Victorian State Opposition’s announcement that, if elected, it will abandon the East West Link project (Stage 1) has sent a shockwave through the property industry and threatens to derail planning for the state’s growth.

The Property Council says it is deeply concerned by the announcement, which comes after it received repeated assurances that any signed contract would be honoured.

It says the threat will cause concern among local and international investors, and will throw Melbourne’s long-term road transport planning into deep uncertainty.

“This decision will mean that investment is more likely to move interstate where politics comes second to acting in the state’s interest,” said Victorian executive director of the Property Council Jennifer Cunich. “Infrastructure planning and development is not a political football.”

If the Opposition is elected and makes good on its promise, project bidders will need to be compensated, for their time and for resources and money wasted.

An opportunity to prepare adequately for Victoria’s anticipated population growth will also have been lost. With the state’s population expected to grow from 4.3 million to more than 6.5 million by 2050, construction of the East West Link was expected to play a significant role in preserving the state’s liveability and economic vitality.

According to the Property Council, abandoning the project will mean a loss of opportunities to reduce congestion, increase statewide productivity and boost the competitiveness of industry in Victoria.

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