Moreland Council mounting Supreme Court challenge to East West Link tunnel

Moreland Leader: Moreland Council mounting Supreme Court challenge to East West Link tunnel. Emma Hastings. Emily Portelli. 19 July 2014

Moreland Council will challenge the controversial East West Link in the Supreme Court.

Moreland Council will challenge the East West Link in the Supreme Court after accepting legal advice at an extraordinary meeting last night.

The move will see the council spend up to $350,000 to challenge Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s decision to approve the $8 billion project and the East West Link Assessment Committee’s recommendations that the project be approved.

A report at the meeting in Coburg detailed how legal advice obtained by the council said that under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act (2009) the recommendations and decisions were part of a “flawed decision-making process” that did not take into account relevant information such as the business case and denied Moreland Council and other parties “access to procedural fairness”.

The legal advice, which the report said would likely cost between $130,000 and $350,000, did not recommend pursuing the Linking Melbourne Authority as the challenge should be regarding the minister’s processes and not the actions of the authority.

The motion was passed 6-2, with councillors John Kavanagh and Rob Thompson voting against it.

Mayor Lambros Tapinos told the Moreland Leader he was pleased the council would be mounting the challenge because it had always been against the project.

“Moreland Council has a long-standing history of being in opposition to the tunnel,” Cr Tapinos said.

“The biggest concern is how the money can be better spent, how it should be invested in public transport.

He said the tunnel concerned a large number of Moreland residents.

“What we feel is that it’s a process issue and would seek a challenge to whether the process was correct.”

Health Minister David Davis said today he was not aware of the specific details of the legal action, but said the link was vital to moving freight and commuters around the state.

“Melbourne has significant traffic congestion and there is clearly a need for the East-West,” Mr Davis said.

“There’s clear need for dealing with the roads and traffic and the movement east-west across the city.”

He said the state government was committed to building the road as a part of a balanced public transport policy that included major expansions to Melbourne’s train and tunnel.

“It’s clear we need that road,” Mr Davis said.

“It’s clear that Labor doesn’t support it and Labor is against providing those transport solutions that are needed in Victoria.”

The appeal must be lodged with the Supreme Court by close of business on Monday.

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