“It Doesn’t Make Sense” – East-West Link On Hold as Andrews Government Blows through Building Materials
A state-wide shortage of building resources has forced Premier Daniel Andrews to shelve mega-projects like the East-West Link, as the Government aims to deliver a $100 billion infrastructure pipeline within the next decade.
Despite a $4 billion commitment from the Federal Government, Andrews claims that Victoria’s lack of raw materials means that the state does not have the capacity to take on such a large project.
“We are pretty well at full-tilt with sand and gravel and concrete. The notion we can just throw another major project into the middle of the biggest infrastructure agenda the nation’s ever seen and not shelve or hold up the projects we’re committed to, it doesn’t make sense,” said Andrews, as quoted by The Australian Financial Review.
Andrews stood by his Government’s priority on its own projects and said that Labor was committed to delivering on their election promises.
Referring to the East-West Link, he said: “I’m not going to defer projects I said I would build – and Victorian’s voted for – to build a project I said I wouldn’t.”
He also challenged concerns about the duration of construction, saying that his Government was tackling some of the biggest projects to ever be built in Victoria.
“I wish we could do it in a shorter period of time but the size and scale of some of these investments are so big it does take a long time. And maybe that’s one of the reasons they weren’t started years ago,” he said.
The long-awaited airport rail link, due to commence construction by 2022, has been estimated to take nine years to build; while the Melbourne Metro project has a projected completion date in 2025.
The ambitious suburban rail loop project will take even longer, with the project’s website stating that a construction period of “decades” was likely to deliver 12 new stations. The Government anticipates that 20,000 construction jobs will be created as a result of the works.
Facing down long construction periods, Andrews said he is not opposed to inviting international companies to bid on future projects, though stipulated that they would need to partner with local contractors to deliver works.
“There are very few, if any multinational companies who could walk into the Victorian market or indeed Australian market without needing a local partner to understand the market,” he said.
The East-West Link is still listed as a high-priority project by Infrastructure Australia.
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