Concrete plant - Benalla
12 June 2018
The Benalla concrete plant is going to be a great asset for our region, providing much needed jobs, investment and an influx of economic activity.
Despite ongoing scaremongering from some quarters, there is no risk to plant and I fully support it being built in town.
I do not believe government's should tear up signed contracts and the West Gate distributor tunnel is a signed contract.
The West Gate project is being built and it will continue to be built. We will never follow the path of the Labor party which paid $1.3 billion NOT to build the East West Link.
My focus is to see the concrete plant continue beyond the limited life of the West Gate distributor tunnel.
The stunts that Labor MPs have pulled in the last few months, attempting to whip up fear in the community that the project won’t ahead, are going to continue for the simple fact that they stand to benefit politically from the community believing it to be at risk.
It is true that we, as an Opposition, have expressed concern about the West Gate distributor project which is being built in Melbourne.
Daniel Andrews did a secret deal behind closed doors with Transurban. The project never went to tender and it will lead to a huge increase in tolls on CityLink.
Nor did it go to an election, which in itself shows the hypocrisy of Daniel Andrews, considering that was his argument for spending $1.3 billion to tear up the East West Link contract.
Anyone who uses CityLink, including a number of the communities in the Euroa electorate who commute to Melbourne daily, will have to pay toll increases of 4.2 per cent each year for 10 years in order to pay for the West Gate distributor.
I also want to make it clear that I have never voted against the Benalla concrete plant - another favourite lie of Labor MPs.
A vote was taken in the Upper House (of which I am not a member) a number of months ago that revoked planning approvals for the West Gate distributor as a way of signaling our grave concerns about the cost and lack of transparency surrounding the project.
Again, this did not put the project in jeopardy as the Parliament is not required to give planning approval in order for the project to proceed. The provision to bypass Parliament exists under the Major Projects Transport Facilitation Act 2009.
The evidence on the ground is in the fact that Transurban did not down tools on the project. Nor did it affect the construction of the concrete plant in anyway.
If you are still in doubt, then drive past the site yourself where work is underway. John Holland and CPB Constructions are currently advertising for senior jobs at the plant.
I want to see jobs in Benalla continue after the West Gate distributor tunnel is built. That project is due for completion by 2022 which means, without an ongoing pipeline of work, those jobs will be temporary.
We have already announced more than $5 billion in infrastructure projects we plan to build if we are elected.
It is my hope that those projects will provide an opportunity to see jobs in Benalla extended beyond the life of the West Gate distributor tunnel.