Adjournment: West Gate Tunnel
My adjournment is to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and relates to the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Residents in my electorate have been dealing with the negative impacts of this toll road for five years, and while the project was originally due for completion in 2023, it now won’t be finished until at least 2025.
When the project was first proposed, my colleague the member for Melbourne spoke out fiercely against it, but the government pushed ahead in spite of community opposition.
Residents living in North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Docklands and Kensington will not benefit from the toll road, but they will be the most affected.
More than 10 000 extra vehicles a day will pass through these suburbs, polluting the area, creating traffic bottlenecks and pushing trucks onto local roads.
For years, my office, alongside the member for Melbourne, has been raising concerns about the project on behalf of the community. Yet residents still report that their concerns have been largely ignored and that no meaningful action is being taken to address the very serious issues they are raising.
The Wurundjeri Way extension will pass within 100 metres of residents’ homes on Railway Place in West Melbourne, but the government refuses to acknowledge the need for a noise wall. Instead, residents have been offered tube stock plants which would take years to grow and do little to mitigate the road’s noise impacts.
Parents and staff at Docklands Primary have raised fears about the extra bike traffic which will be funnelled from the project’s new veloway onto the footpath outside the school. However, calls to separate the path or move the exit closer to Spencer Street, which could help keep students and families safe, have been disregarded.
The community are also concerned about the various impacts to the lower Moonee Ponds Creek and surrounding wetlands, which have already been eroded over the years by projects such as CityLink.
Residents have suggested positive solutions to increase green space, such as the realignment of veloway bridge 75 to allow for more planting at ground level. This would increase biodiversity and improve amenity. But despite the proposal being widely accepted by the community and the contractors responsible for building it, community groups have waited almost a year without any confirmation of the final design.
All of these issues and more have been raised multiple times by the project’s community liaison group. Members of the group feel disrespected and ignored and are understandably frustrated by the lack of meaningful engagement from the relevant authorities.
The action I seek is for the minister to meet with the project’s community liaison group and take meaningful action to address the concerns that residents raise in this forum.