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The Napthine government left out crucial information about the east-west link when it submitted its business case to Infrastructure Australia last month, prompting the federal authority to seek more details.
The lack of detail about the $6 billion to $8 billion toll road's economic credentials risks stymying the project if the federal Labor government is re-elected.
On Tuesday, Premier Denis Napthine used his government's release of detailed designs on where the six-kilometre road will run to make a direct pitch to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He said the case for the road was now undeniable and called on Mr Rudd to match Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's promise to put in $1.5 billion.
1. Melbourne Uni baseball players. Photo: Joe Armao
''I'd urge Kevin Rudd to come down to Melbourne and . . . stand at the top of Hoddle Street and have a look at the Eastern Freeway at 7.30 to 8 o'clock in the morning, and I think he'll get his cheque book out,'' Dr Napthine said.
''I would believe that the business case that has now been completed, the release of the reference design . . . this to me is a lay-down misere.''
But Infrastructure Australia co-ordinator Michael Deegan said the business case it received last month lacked enough detail and the authority could not yet make a call on whether the link deserved federal funding. ''We are seeking further information,'' he said.
2. Margaret Jungwirth. Photo: Eddie Jim
Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Rudd government would not consider putting in money until Infrastructure Australia was satisfied the project had economic benefits.
''The proposed east-west link is a potentially worthy project but it's still in the early stages of development,'' Mr Albanese said.
''The fact is Infrastructure Australia is still working with Victorian officials to flesh out the details of their proposal.''
3. David Cursio. Photo: Pat Scala
The Napthine government responded that ''millions of Victorians'' already saw the need for the project.
''The fact that, after receiving our business case, Infrastructure Australia is seeking further information is encouraging,'' a government spokeswoman said.
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said there would never be a satisfactory business case for the east-west link.
Illustration: Ron Tandberg.
''This road has no economic merit, this road is environmentally and socially devastating, so why is the government insisting on wasting taxpayers' money to destroy homes and parkland?'' Dr Morton said.
More than 100 homes and business premises were in the pathway of the east-west link, the state government revealed on Tuesday.
It said all those whose property was compulsorily acquired would be compensated at fair market rates.
''Those affected will be assisted throughout the process with case managers from the Linking Melbourne Authority,'' Roads Minister Terry Mulder said.
''They will be paid fair market value for their properties and any legal and associated expenses.''
Shadow treasurer Tim Pallas said the Napthine government had caused grief and uncertainty in the community.
''They started a consultation process yesterday that ended today with people being told that their properties are being acquired,'' Mr Pallas said.
Fairfax Media revealed on Monday that an entire block of homes in Collingwood was in the path of a proposed new freeway on-ramp and was likely to be acquired. Residents received letters from the Linking Melbourne Authority that day.
In total, 92 homes and 26 business premises could be acquired to make way for the first stage of the east-west link road between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink. Royal Park parkland will also be claimed.
With Henrietta Cook
Giant road project to cause anxiety and disruption
1. Diamonds aren't forever
It was Melbourne's first purpose-built baseball diamond, but Ross Straw Field will be consumed, at least temporarily, by the construction for the east-west tunnel through Royal Park.
The toll road's construction phase will dig up at least one of the two sporting ovals, possibly for years.
Vibeke Pedersen, the president of the Melbourne Uni Baseball Club, said the construction of the toll road would effectively render the Ross Straw Field sporting ovals ''out of action''.
The sports facilities are used by community groups including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's soccer team, the Indigos Cricket Club and the Living Practice Yoga Studio.
Ms Pederson said the club understood that ''at least one of the two fields will be out of action, but our club is too big to operate out of one field''.
Club member Neil Morton bought an apartment off the plan opposite the fields in 2010, which is due to be completed in December.
Mr Morton said when he bought the property, he was unaware of the proposed tollway. Now, ''after looking at the maps, I can almost touch the freeway from my balcony''.
Mr Morton and Ms Pedersen believe the proposed road will also affect native wildlife that flourishes in nearby wetlands. The park is a habitat of White's skink, a native species of lizard, as well as native birds. Ms Pedersen said: ''It doesn't make sense to get rid of such a beautiful area that is used by so many members of the community for something that is not going to be making much difference to the flow of traffic.''
The club is talking with other sports group and community group Friends of Royal Park over opposition to the tollway plans. They are also supporting City of Yarra's $200,000 campaign ''Trains not Tolls'', which advocates the Doncaster Railway line upgrades instead of the tollway for easing Melbourne's traffic congestion.
2. No peace in Parkville
Parkville residents are worried towering flyovers will transform their peaceful neighbourhood when the suburb becomes home to a major freeway connection.
Manningham Street resident Margaret Jungwirth said seven flats in her block of 18 have been sold in the past year, as residents flee the area amid rumours of an east-west upheaval.
On Tuesday, the retired teacher, 60, turned up at Premier Denis Napthine's media conference hoping to ask him for more detail about how the project will affect her home.
Her questions were left unanswered when he left the State Netball and Hockey Centre using a different exit, and Ms Jungwirth was refused entry to the briefing.
Ms Jungwirth is concerned a vent stack billowing car fumes will be built within 400 metres from her home and that a tunnel will emerge few hundred metres from her back fence.
She has an immune-system illness that means she's only able to function normally for three or four hours a day.
"Concentrated vehicle fumes couldn't be good for anybody but because it's so close and so intense it would just be sitting in the air around here. It won't help my general health," Ms Jungwirth said. She is still unsure if she will pack up and leave the area like her neighbours before her.
Those at the Elderly Chinese Home, about 500 metres up the road, also have no immediate plans to leave despite fears the residence could be shadowed by a tollway overpass.
The home currently has a waiting list and are in the midst of expanding from 32 rooms to 47 rooms. They'll continue that extension even though there are fears the home will no longer provide the quite retirement it once did for its elders.
"We are concerned about noise, air pollution and if we'll loose that tranquillity and peacefulness around the area," manager Sandy Lieu said.
3. Expansion plans are doomed
David Cursio decided to base his financial services business on Alexandra Parade because he knew hundreds of vehicles would roar past every day and read his signage.
But on Monday he discovered this great exposure would come to an end, and it was likely his Clifton Hill property would be acquired to make way for the east-west link tunnel.
Mr Cursio is one of 26 commercial property owners who are set to be displaced by the $6-$8 billion road project, and he's not impressed.
''We knew there was a proposed tunnel in the roadworks but we had no idea there would be acquisition of property, we just didn't think that would happen.''
He said moving from the property he has owned for about six years would affect earnings and signal the end of his development plans.
''There will be quite a significant disruption if we have to move our business.''
He said consultation had been limited and included only a vague letter sent to 250 property owners and a phone call from the Linking
The majority of the commercial properties that are likely to be bulldozed to make way for the tunnel are on the north side of Alexandra Parade, between Gold Street and Queens Parade.
Businesses that could be bulldozed include a furniture shop, a beauty salon, pet product shop, and an electric bicycle business. Several shop managers directed questions to their head offices but said they were anxious about their future.
A fact sheet distributed to property owners said compensation for businesses would consider relocation costs and business losses due to the acquisition. ''We would negotiate possession timeframes for businesses based on the circumstances of each business and project requirements.''
Compulsory acquisition notices are expected to be handed out in early to mid-2014.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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