East West Link – The Case for Labor to Terminate the Contracts
The majority of Victorians are opposed to the East West tunnel project. It is not the winner that Denis Napthine had hoped. The public has made it clear that it believes infrastructure spending should be directed towards public transport not roads. They are becoming aware that the tunnel project is in fact a massive misdirection of public funds which does not make economic sense, which will not resolve traffic congestion on the Eastern Freeway or elsewhere, and which will have the effect of denuding much needed funds for public transport infrastructure.
• the absence of a mandate to enter into such a massive project;
• the lack of transparency in the Government’s handling of the project;
• the fact that the whole process has been conducted in secrecy and haste, and
• that it is now clear that the process being conducted is the product of a government acting in bad faith to bind its successors to a contract, which in the ordinary course of planning processes would not be signed until 2015 we believe that Labor’s commitment to honour the contracts if signed is no longer a fiscally responsible nor electorally wise course of action.
Labor therefore needs to state upfront that it will not uphold the contract for the Napthine government’s EW Link proposal because there has been no attempt to define the project in the context of a future for the city that the community wants.
Accordingly, the ALP needs to come up with a visionary comprehensive 21st Century transport infrastructure plan that is economically and environmentally sustainable and which reflects global best practice.
Arguments about sovereign risk are misleading. Visiting ANU Professor Nick Sneddon, Australia’s foremost expert on government contracts has made it clear that there are no legal impediments to state governments cancelling contracts entered into by their predecessors and believes that any compensation arising would be minimal.
A statement before contracts are signed that the ALP will not continue with the contracts will make the situation completely clear to tenderers.
The absence of a mandate for the project, the lack of transparency surrounding it and the serious flaws being identified at the hearings before the Assessment Panel lend support to the view that the responsible course of action is to publicly state that any contracts entered into will not be upheld by Labor.
There are electoral benefits for Labor in taking a stronger stand against the project. The community is hungry for a well-planned and fully comprehensive public transport plan. Labor can mark itself out as a truly alternative government and can damage the current Government by exposing what is essentially a shonky deal being rushed through the Parliament. Investment in comprehensive public transport will create more employment than Labor's target numbers.
Labor must announce that it is not prepared to support this dubious and discredited project, which will be a burden for generations to come.
MCAT Moreland Community Against the Tunnel
For further information Contact: Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel
E: [email protected] M: 0417 354 169
For further information
Moreland Council: Cr Sue Bolton, mobile 0417 583 664
Moreland Community Against the (EW) Tunnel: Michael Petit, mobile 0417 354 169
Moreland Community Against the (EW) Tunnel: Riki Lane, mobile 0400 877 819