Question without Notice: West Gate tunnel project

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran)  — My question is to the Premier. Premier, you have signed the West Gate tunnel contract before knowing how it will be paid for. In fact it would appear that the 10-year toll extension will not be introduced until the next term of Parliament. Premier, why didn't you introduce the amendments to the concession deed before the West Gate tunnel contracts were signed?

 

 

 

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thought I might have gotten a question from the opposition about this project before the Greens, but apparently not. Thank you, member for Prahran, for your question. The legislation and the instruments to deliver the funding
for the project are in fact a function of the contract as signed. We could have a debate about sequencing, but the way in which we have done this, we believe, is the appropriate way. The most complete way to answer your question is that this road, this vital piece of infrastructure and the 6000 jobs that come with it, will either be paid for by motorists or paid for by all Victorian taxpayers. That is the decision that will be before the Parliament at an appropriate time. Regardless of that decision, member for Prahran and all honourable members, work will begin in a couple of weeks time.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My supplementary question —  Premier, you seem to be threatening that the state will foot the entire $6.7 billion bill for the West Gate tunnel if the 10-year toll extension is not passed by Parliament. Isn't this threat as dodgy as the Liberals' east–west link side letter?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier)— Some members opposite have surmised that I might have helped the member for Prahran in drafting that piercing question, but no, I did not — and I would reject any comparison because I think it is very difficult to compare a project that stacks up with one that does not.