Prime Minister Tony Abbott has roasted Victorian premier Daniel Andrews for his decision to cancel the East West Link project, calling it an “unprecedented announcement” that will be “a massive set back” for the state.
Along with comments from the assistant minister for infrastructure Jamie Briggs, Abbott said the federal government is dismayed his decision, and that it has potentially threatened the further investment in much-needed infrastructure in our country”.
“They have damaged investor confidence in major infrastructure projects,” a joint statement from the prime minister and Briggs read.
“Australia can’t afford to discourage private investment in infrastructure because government alone cannot afford to build the infrastructure that our country needs.
“There is no alternative to the East West Link in Victoria.”
The cancellation of the project means that 7,000 potential jobs will be erased and “the only answer to easing Victoria’s traffic congestion” will never exist and daily traffic gridlock will worsen.
“Victorians should feel let down by Daniel Andrews who promised before the election that no compensation would be paid,” said Abbott.
“The tearing up of this contract damages Victoria’s reputation as a place to do business.
“Victorians will suffer as a consequence of this reckless decision.”
This morning Andrews announced that the Victorian government had agreed to pay $339 million to cancel the controversial $10.7 billion East West Link toll road, a proposed cross-city road connection extending across Melbourne from the Eastern Freeway to the M80 Ring Road.
Andrews described the decision as “the best possible result” which has put the “interests of Victorians first” after it was estimated last December that the government could be forced to pay up to $1 billion in compensation if they canned the project.
Read more on this mornings announcement here.
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