Residents Against the Tunnel: Media Release 9 September 2014
Today the East West Connect consortium was announced as the preferred bidder.
“This is another political stunt to try and paint this project as being a done deal” said Harriet Mantell from the Residents Against the Tunnel (RAT) group.
There is no binding contract and nothing can be signed. The conditions of the Planning Minister’s own Approval Decision have not yet been met.
“How can contracts be signed for something for which there is no final design?” asked Ms Mantell.
The planning approval is conditional on five Development Plans being produced to examine the redesign of various sections of the East West Link toll road which the independent Assessment Committee rejected. These plans must be opened to public comment.
“If they are not, it makes a mockery of the whole community consultation process”, Ms Mantell said. The Minister’s Approval Decision requires that owners and occupiers of land be “..fully informed pending approval of the Development Plans”. This has not happened.
The preferred bidder’s design is also unknown but is understood to be significantly different to the Linking Melbourne Authority’s own “reference design”. There is now only one design on the table and the public have a right to see the details and comment on it.
“This whole project is riddled with uncertainty. There are two outstanding Supreme Court cases challenging the Government’s statements about the project’s economic viability and ‘secret’ business case, and the legality of the Minister’s Approval Decision. At least one of these challenges will not be resolved until after the election.” Ms Mantell said.
Furthermore, in its rush to push this project through, and recognizing it does not have the numbers in the Lower House, the Government has decided not to introduce any legislation to authorize the contract, as was done for CityLink, Eastlink and Peninsula Link.
“Any contracts that might be entered into now would have such a large cloud of uncertainty hanging over them, they would barely deserve to be regarded as contracts. The government should not be rushing to commit Victorians to this project. Decency and common sense dictate that they should take this proposal to the Victorian people at the election on 29 November, and not sign anything before that.”
Contact: Harriet Mantell, 0425 725 706