Patron Senator for Ballarat, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, State Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay and Ballarat region Liberal candidates have united behind the push for Melbourne’s East West Link.
The East West Link will become Australia’s largest infrastructure project and will slash travel times, improve transport efficiencies, vastly reduce congestion and enhance road safety.
“More importantly, for businesses and residents in Western Victoria, the $8-$10 billion Western Section will improve access into Melbourne from the west, including a second river crossing to ease congestion on the West Gate Bridge,” Mr Ramsay said.
“This is such vital infrastructure for moving people in – and out – of Melbourne and across the state. It also means more time for people to be with their families and not sitting in traffic,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Transport and logistics companies, and businesses more broadly, have made it very clear they need the productivity and efficiency increases the East West Link will provide”.
Contracts for the East West Link were signed with East West Connect on September 30th.
Liberal candidate for Wendouree, Craig Coltman, said Labor’s threat to tear up the contract is a genuine concern to business confidence, and jobs growth, across the state.
“If Labor cares about jobs and families – then they should care about the East West Link. But they’re empty words if they proceed with their threat”, Mr Coltman said.
“90 per cent of construction funds will be spent on local content – goods, services, and 3,700 jobs. This is a huge win for the Victorian economy,” Mr Coltman said.
Liberal candidate for Buninyong, Ben Taylor, said the unions should also get behind the project.
“I call on Ballarat Trades Hall and the construction unions to put jobs before politics.
“This is crucial infrastructure in so many ways – and the unions know that. So does Labor. But so far, they are playing politics and threatening business confidence in the state,” Mr Taylor said.
Liberal candidate for Western Victoria, Josh Morris, has urged voters to consider the power of their vote and the potential it has to ensure the security of the East West Link and the state’s growth.
“Every vote counts – and every vote for this project is a vote for business security and confidence, progress, jobs, and families,” Mr Morris said
“Can you imagine driving through Melbourne in 30 years, with a much greater population, and even greater gridlock? But it is avoidable and people need to direct their vote accordingly,” Mr Morris said.
Senator Michael Ronaldson said the project has the strong backing of the Federal Government.
“Only a Coalition Government in Canberra and a Coalition Government in Spring Street will deliver the East West Link. Daniel Andrews and Labor are putting at risk the $3 billion funding the Federal Government has committed towards the project.
“As a lifelong resident of Western Victoria, I know how vital this infrastructure is,” Senator Ronaldson said.
Mr Ramsay has also called on Labor’s Jaala Pulford to commit Labor to other major roads projects in Western Victoria, including the duplication of the Princes Highway West and Western Freeway to Stawell.
“Ms Pulford was quoted in the Warrnambool Standard as saying that Labor will only ‘evaluate every project on a needs basis and we’d certainly look at what’s happening with the Princes Highway’ ”.
“Does mean that – should they win the election – Labor will not only tear up East West Link, but also the Western Freeway contracts, the $362 Princes Highway duplication between Colac and Winchelsea and the $50 million upgrade to the Great Ocean Road?”
“Victorian voters deserve the truth and clarity on these vital contracts and I call on Labor to provide that,” Mr Ramsay said.