House debates

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Melbourne: Traffic Congestion

7:44 pm

Photo of Kevin AndrewsKevin Andrews (Menzies, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to highlight once again one of the most important issues for the people of Melbourne and in particular my constituents in the electorate of Menzies, and that is the increasing problem of traffic congestion. It's a concern for people right across the metropolitan area of Melbourne and it's a particular concern for the residents of Menzies. Roads such as Bulleen-Templestowe Road and Manningham Road, and the gridlock that occurs for a couple of hours each morning and afternoon around the Bulleen Heidelberg River crossing and the river crossings at Fitzsimons Lane and Warrandyte, are choke points for the city of Melbourne's traffic flow and major congestion problems within my electorate.

The reality is that for year after year after year, for decades now, the population of Melbourne has been increasing significantly. We see all the predictions that, in the not-too-distant future, Melbourne will become the most populous city in Australia, overtaking Sydney. Yet the reality is that the infrastructure, particularly the road and transport infrastructure of the city, has not kept up with the population growth.

A decade ago, Sir Rod Eddington advised the then Brumby Labor government in Victoria that there were certain major projects of importance. One of those projects was the East West Link. Sir Rod, who advised the Brumby government to build the road in 2008, has basically put the Premier, Mr Andrews, on notice that the growing Melbourne population now desperately needs new routes to combat rising congestion. He recently said:

I think the pressure of traffic will ultimately drive an east-west tunnel in the way I recommended … I think there are real challenges in the east-west corridor.

He lamented that this project has now become a political football. The reality is that, for close to a decade, political parties of both persuasions—both Labor, as recommended to the then Labor Brumby government, and the coalition—supported the concept that we needed this important infrastructure link between the eastern and western suburbs of Melbourne. As Sir Rod said more recently, that is something which still needs to be done. In a recent address, he acknowledged that the western portion of that link was the priority but went on to stress that the eastern part of it was also a priority that needed building and that what also needs building is the North East Link.

Both of these infrastructure projects, the East West Link and the North East Link, particularly affect residents of my electorate because of the congestion on the roads that lead into the eastern freeway roads like Bulleen-Templestowe Road and also the roads that lead to the missing portions of the metropolitan ring road—mainly between the Eastern Freeway and the northern ring road—which causes choke points through Bulleen and Heidelberg, causes a choke point in the morning on Fitzsimons Lane and causes not only a choke point but an endangerment to people should there be bushfires in the area at Warrandyte. These are the missing parts of important transport and road infrastructure for Melbourne, and they particularly affect the constituents of my area.

So the recommendations from Sir Rod Eddington that the North East Link and the East West Link are both priorities, both of which must be completed, are extremely important to my constituents. I will continue to campaign in this place to ensure that both of those links are built and once again to urge the government of Premier Andrews in Victoria to reconsider the East West Link. The proponent of this in the first place, Sir Rod, said recently it must be built. It's a priority, and I will continue to campaign for it.