Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Mail Newspaper Column - How East West Link Will Help - 4 November 2014

One of the many great features of the Yarra Ranges is the long roads winding through some of the Victoria’s most beautiful vistas. Drivers and motorcyclists flock to our area of a weekend to cruise along our highways.

If we are to have improved living standards, greater opportunity, better services and more jobs in the years ahead, we must take a number of steps today to build a stronger economy—both locally and nationally.

All of these steps require repairing the budget so that we can get off the runaway debt train, build trade opportunities so that our businesses can sell their products and services into new markets, and reduce business and household costs—like the carbon tax which has already been abolished.

Another critical step is investing in infrastructure, particularly better roads; both at a local and state level.

This is why the Federal Government is investing more than $10 million in the Yarra Ranges under the Roads to Recovery programme over the next five years. This money will help upgrade some of our worst local roads right across the Yarra Ranges.

East West Link is also vital for both our local and state economy. It will cut out 23 sets of traffic lights and drastically shorten journey times for hundreds of thousands of commuters every day. This is why the Federal Government has joined with the Victorian Government and invested $3 billion to build East West Link.

There is no doubt that Melbourne will grow significantly over coming decades. Without major new infrastructure projects today, Melbourne’s roads of tomorrow will become an even bigger and badder car park. It is hard to imagine driving through our city now without CityLink—which was opposed by many when built in the 1990s. East West Link will ensure Melbourne has an efficient transportation system for decades to come.

For those thousands of local residents that commute to the CBD for work, East West Link will mean more time at home in the Yarra Valley and less time stuck in peak hour traffic on the Eastern Freeway.

East West Link will mean lower transport costs for our local businesses. A fruit grower in Silvan will get their fresh produce to market quicker and cheaper. These savings and efficiencies will filter through the supply chain to the benefit of us all.

And for our tradies driving between job sites from on one side of the city to the other, East West Link means they can spend more time on the tools getting work done, instead of sitting on Alexandra Parade.

Local tourism will also benefit from East West Link. Keeping trip times from Melbourne Airport to the Yarra Valley below one hour makes us a more attractive destination to both domestic and international tourists.

The Australian Government funds upgrades to our local roads and major infrastructure projects such as East West Link because they don’t just benefit those who use these roads—they benefit everyone.

Lower transportation costs for business takes pressure off consumer prices. And strengthening our local economy creates more jobs locally.

click here for pdf version of Tony's column

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