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Albert Einstein is often credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.
If the Victorian Liberals think the East West Link road project can win them the election, they must be assessed, medicated and popped in an asylum post haste.
The opposition vows to revive the East West Link project, which has been rejected twice in the past.
On Thursday, the opposition vowed that, if elected, it would build the East West Link tunnel linking the end of the Eastern Freeway in Clifton Hill to CityLink in Parkville.
The only problem is, it’s been rejected before. Not once, but twice.
Even Liberal MPs were sceptical of the plan. As one shadow cabinet minister somewhat despondently asked following the announcement: “If we lose next year, will we pitch it up again in 2026?” For those lucky enough to have missed this 14-year saga, let me remind you.
Back in 2007, Labor asked transport expert Sir Rod Eddington to find a way to fix the bottleneck where the Eastern Freeway meets Hoddle Street. A year later, Sir Rod reported back and suggested a new road linking the Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Roads. Labor seemed open to the idea.
But Labor’s John Brumby lost the election and in 2012, the new Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu committed a modest amount to produce a business case for the road.
During his premiership, Ted Baillieu committed some funding towards a business case for the link.CREDITAT SCALA
A spill of the Liberal leadership and a government bereft of policies prompted the state’s new premier Denis Napthine to commit to building stage one of the projects, a tunnel connecting the Eastern Freeway and CityLink.
A year out from the state election in November 2013, then-opposition leader Daniel Andrews rejected the idea but added that he was not one to go “irresponsibly ripping up contracts” if the project was under way by polling day. But two months out from polling day, he had a change of heart.
Not only would Labor refuse to build the road, it would also tear up any signed contracts and refuse to pay compensation to the winning bidder.
The Napthine government signed a $5.3 billion stage one contract for the building of the link.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
The Napthine government rushed to sign the $5.3 billion stage one contract and added a boobytrap in the form of a side-letter that offered compensation if the project was scrapped.
In an incredibly unhelpful move for the Liberals, then-prime minister Tony Abbott declared that the state election was a referendum on the East West Link infrastructure project, much to the chagrin of Napthine.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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