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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15623

Mr PEARCE (4:38 PM) —It is my great pleasure to rise in the House today to support the motion put forward by the member for Deakin. From the outset I would like to say that we have heard a lot of discussion in this place about the Scoresby Freeway but it seems to me that there are a couple of key issues that are quite often forgotten. I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that as a result of the Victorian state government's decision the losers are the community. It is the people who live and work within the corridor that lose out from this decision. It seems to me that we hear a lot of talk about a lot of things, but unfortunately the Victorian state government do not seem to understand the impact that this decision is going to have on people. Yesterday, when I launched the Scoresby `No tolls' bumper sticker campaign in my electorate there was a person that stopped on Ferntree Gully Road and was interviewed by one of Melbourne's TV stations. That person was saying that he is very concerned that he may lose his livelihood as a tradesperson because he will need to use this new tollway and it is going to cost him an enormous amount of money.

So I think, firstly, that is the issue that has been forgotten—the actual impact that it is going to have on the lives of families that live up and down the Scoresby corridor. It is that impact that concerns me. How are these families and these small business operators going to be able to run their businesses and go about their normal daily activities and afford to pay the tolls being imposed on the freeway?

The second point that is very important to remember is that we hear a lot from our Labor colleagues about the fact that we want this road to go ahead. That is not in question. Everybody wants this road to go ahead. It is not a matter of whether or not the road should go ahead. Of course, everybody wants the road to go ahead. That is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about is a point of principle: it is a point of doing what is right versus doing what is wrong. You can hear a lot of debate about this issue but at the end of the day the Victorian state government went to an election and they promised me, my wife, my family, my next door neighbours, the people across the street from where I live and the people that operate their business next to my electorate office—they promised each and every one of us—that they would build the Scoresby Freeway.

Mr Pyne —They were lying.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The member for Sturt will withdraw that comment.

Mr Pyne —I withdraw it.

Mr PEARCE —Now they have decided to impose tolls. Before you start talking about the ins and outs and what happened on this date and so forth, the fundamental point is that it is an unprincipled action on their part. It is unprincipled and it should not happen.

Ms Ellis —You've never seen broken promises on your side.

Mr PEARCE —We hear a lot about broken promises and so forth from the other side. All I can say is that since I have been the member for Aston there have been no broken promises in Aston. When I ran for the Aston by-election, I promised the people of Aston that I would work hard to see the Scoresby Freeway built. I then ran 17 weeks later in the general election and I promised that again. If the state government and the federal opposition think that I am going to do what they did and break my promise to the people of Aston, I am not going to. It is a serious issue: it is an issue that the people of the outer eastern suburbs and southern suburbs of Melbourne will have to sustain for 30 or 40 years. My young son will be almost my age by the time these tolls are supposedly withdrawn. He will be an adult with his own family and he will still be paying tolls on the Mitcham-Frankston tollway. This is the wrong decision, it is unprincipled, it is unnecessary and the state government could do it a different way. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The time allotted for private members' business has expired. The debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 104A. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.