Thursday 22 October 2015
Metro Rail Tunnel
The Metro Rail project is a once in generation opportunity to build a significant infrastructure legacy for our children.
That is why we must get it right.
In a joint media release from Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan in April 2015, they declared that planning work had ‘determined that building the tunnel above the City Loop at a depth of around 10 metres – instead of below the City Loop at more than 40 metres – is the best option for commuters’.
Yesterday, Jacinta Allan changed the government’s position on this critical detail by revealing that tunnel will now be at a depth of between 28 metres and 37 metres.
There is also growing confusion over the land to be compulsorily acquired to build the Metro Rail project.
In September 2014, Richard Wynne took the moral high ground when discussing the acquisition of land to build the East West Link by declaring: “We will never stand by silently and allow this government to rip the heart out of the inner city and displace decent people who deserve to live in dignity in their community. We will never let that happen.”
A month earlier Daniel Andrews on the same issue said: “We can talk about the process as well. There are people losing their homes, with no proper process for them.”
But this week we have learned that some residents affected by the land acquisition process have been left anxious from coming home to find ‘urgent’ handwritten messages from the Metro Rail Authority in their letterbox. This cannot be the ‘proper process’ that Daniel Andrews moralised about.
And today, on Jon Faine’s program, Daniel Andrews was unable to confirm that his government allowed hugely valuable permit approvals at two sites on Swanston Street which will be compulsorily acquired to build the rail project. These permits have driven up the value of the properties meaning the government will have to pay additional compensation to the owners.
This additional compensation will also impact on the final cost of the project which still remains unfunded by the Andrews Government with a current shortfall of at least $7 billion.
Victorians remain in the dark about the total cost of the project because a business case has still not been released even though Daniel Andrews has already approved the project. In 2014, Daniel Andrews was fond of claiming that a business case was essential before approving any project. In 2015 it seems to be an optional extra.
Daniel Andrews also still hasn’t released any environmental studies into the project which is yet another breach of his pre-election promises.
Daniel Andrews has a poor record of involvement in major projects. He was a member of the Cabinet which mismanaged the myki and the desalination plant projects and now we are already seeing evidence of mismanagement of this project.
The Liberal National Coalition is committed to working constructively to make sure we get the planning for this once in a generation infrastructure project right.