June 6, 2013

Napthine Government Neglects States West

Geoff Howard MP, State Member for Ballarat East, has accused the Napthine Government of neglecting Ballarat and the West of the State ahead of Melbourne’s East by committing to an Eastern toll road ahead of an alternative to the Westgate Freeway.

“The Napthine Eastern Tollway plan flies in the face of advice received by the government from Victoria’s top road planning authority which identifies a Western Link from West Footscray to the Port of Melbourne as a priority ahead of a freeway in the East,” Mr Howard said.

“Car travellers from Ballarat to Melbourne will know that with the construction of the Deer Park bypass and the Anthony’s Cutting realignment, completed in recent years, traffic flow to the Western Ring Road has significantly improved. They also know however that flow on theWestern Ring Road and across the Westgate bridge can cause major delays in peak
periods and that this will only get worse as more traffic also comes from Geelong, Werribee and other areas of Melbourne’s growing West in coming years.”

“This same advice was provided to the Napthine government earlier this year by the Linking Melbourne Authority but has been rejected as the government has chosen to focus on attracting votes in Melbourne’s East.”

Mr Howard said that all of the best advice would recognise that the starting point for upgrading Melbourne’s road network needs to be in the West.

“The Napthine government is not prepared to accept this reality and is not prepared to
develop a real plan for the growth in traffic in Melbourne’s West,” he said.

“Instead, despite not being able to present a proper business case, it is promoting an East Link tollway even when many critics advise that the demand for the road is very questionable.”

“The residents of this region should be outraged as our region will suffer more and more in the years to come if steps to get under way with a Westgate alternative are not taken now,” said Mr Howard.