In an insightful article in The Age (Victorian desal plant and east-west link disasters are off the rails; 25/11) senior columnist Kenneth Davidson was scathing in his analysis of the East-West Link project, due to its funding and a lack of information being made available to the public. This is definitely worth a read.
He notes that: “… secrecy in public policy-making involves the corruption of proper process . Victorians would be horrified if they knew more about the cost of the water desalination contract, and the disaster involved in the (apparently bi partisan) determination to enter into an equally disastrous contract to build the East West road link.”
He went on to say that: “Unless the major political parties come to their senses, Victorians either as taxpayers or water users and motorists, will be paying a billion dollars a year for two to three decades for a desalination plant from which we are unlikely to draw water, and for a road link that will shift the peak hour traffic jam from Hoddle St to a new traffic jam at Royal Park.” He notes further on, that: “The architects of the east-west link have decided in their wisdom to increase the number of lanes each way from two to three.” This ultimately has the effect of not only increasing traffic through the system from 4,000 to 6,000 vehicles per hour “… but the extra lanes on the Eastern freeway will be built over the grass verge in the middle, making the construction of the Doncaster Rail Link impossible.”
The article is an incisive analysis of the real costs and secrecies surrounding this massive and potentially disastrous project, for which Victorian taxpayers will be paying for a very long period. It seems we still haven’t learned any lessons. In the meantime, other far more cost effective projects which could be done in a relatively short space of time – including Doncaster Rail, Rowville Rail, an Airport Link as well new signalling to increase capacity of the existing system – will be put on the back burner for another ten years. Perhaps, in the case of Doncaster Rail, not even built at all. We should be demanding answers from our politicians as to why this is the case.