ABC News: PM committed to second phase of East West Link as job creation initiative. 14 March 2014
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is considering granting federal funding for the second stage of the East West Link project.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said in December he would seek more federal funding for the project to combat the loss of manufacturing jobs in state.
The project is an 18-kilometre road link from the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road.
Stage one would connect the Eastern to Citylink and stage two would connect Citylink to the Port of Melbourne area.
Mr Abbott says he understands Victorians are apprehensive about job losses and that is why he is committed to the project as a job creation initiative.
“The first stage of East-West Link will create nearly 3,500 construction jobs,” he told ABC local radio.
“I’m talking to Premier Denis Napthine about the second stage of East-West Link because if we can do the two concurrently that’s obviously another 3,000 or more jobs.”
Mr Abbott was asked why he is funding private toll roads rather than public rail infrastructure such as the Metro rail tunnel.
“If we’re tipping billions of dollars into East West Link it makes it a lot easier for the State Government to then get cracking with Metro rail,” he said.
He wants to see the East West Link project get started as soon as possible.
“I want to make sure it’s easier for the State Government to get on with building the most important single infrastructure project in Victoria which is East West Link,” he said.