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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3908


Mr SUKKAR (Deakin) (14:20): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the importance of contributing now to build the infrastructure of the future? And how the East West Link will help employment and opportunity in my electorate of Deakin?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:20): I thank the member for Deakin for his question. I am going to endeavour to sing a wonderful tune for a brief moment, and that is about our infrastructure commitment in the last budget, which is going to contribute to $125 billion of new productive infrastructure in Australia. We are committing $3 billion to build the East West Link right across Melbourne—a hugely important project. It will reduce travel times by up to 20 minutes for commuters travelling from places such as Geelong and Ballarat to the city—the honourable member would welcome that—and remove 20,000 trucks each day from roads around residential streets. The eastern section is expected to allow around 100,000 vehicles each day to bypass 23 sets of traffic lights. And the western section—this is important, and the Leader of the Opposition might want to listen to this—will provide additional capacity for 100,000 vehicles per day and will provide cross-city alternatives to the already congested eastern Monash and West Gate freeways. The good news is that this actually starts before the end of this year. The work actually starts—the shovels will start moving—before the end of this year. This is excellent news for Melbourne. It illustrates our commitment to get on with the job. Our political opponents talked a lot about infrastructure but they never actually delivered. We are getting on with it with a $3 billion commitment. I would think that the Leader of the Opposition would be enthusiastically embracing the East West Link project because once upon a time he said:

There are chronic problems in the western suburbs in terms of egress, and I'm keen to see it get better connected … there is a shortage of east-west links.

That was Leader of the Opposition. So I assume he supports our $3 billion commitment to the East West Link project. I assume he supports 6,000 jobs. I assume he supports getting on with the job before Christmas, but I will tell you what he does not support. He does not support people helping to pay for it. We are understandably bewildered at Labor's position on taxes because last week they were opposing the deficit levy; apparently tonight they are supporting it. Today they are opposing the increase in excise on fuel but still they want to have the East West Link. That is Labor on the never-never. Nothing changes.