News State Victoria Victorian Labor to sell port, fix level crossings

Victorian Labor to sell port, fix level crossings

ABC
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Labor would sell the Port of Melbourne to fund its transport plan for Victoria, a project Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews says would create 10,000 construction jobs.

Labor says the sale of the long-term lease on the port would provide the initial proceeds for a transport investment fund.

The plan unveiled on Tuesday involves ripping up 50 of the city’s most dangerous level crossings.

It includes building the Melbourne Metro Rail project, doubling the size of the rail city loop, building the West Gate Distributor to take 5000 trucks a day off the West Gate Bridge, widening the Tullamarine Freeway and spending $2 billion to improve roads.

Mr Andrews says the plan provides a clear alternative to the coalition’s $8 billion East West tunnel in the lead-up to the November 2014 election and will boost jobs, economic growth and remove the worst bottlenecks.

“Victorian taxpayers deserve better value for money,” he said.

“They deserve a world-class public transport system and high-functioning road network.

“Labor has listened to thousands of Victorians and heard how traffic congestion and poor performing public transport affects their everyday lives.”

Selling the Port of Melbourne to fund the removal of the level crossings over eight years is a big call but the right one, Mr Andrews says.

But Premier Denis Napthine says the plan would condemn Melbourne to decades of gridlock.

“What we’re seeing here is a recipe for congestion, gridlock and chaos,” he told Fairfax Radio.

“There’s no new trams, no new trains, no new buses.

“It condemns us to decades of gridlock.”

The real solution was the coalition’s East West Link, he said.

Mr Andrews says, if elected, Labor will pledge $300 million towards the $9 billion Metro Rail tunnel in its first budget.

“The world’s most liveable city ought to have a world-class public transport system, that is my vision,” he told reporters.

“I will, with the support of the Victorian community, make that a reality.”

Mr Andrews says his shadow cabinet unanimously backed selling the Port of Melbourne to fund level crossing removal, but that it would be irresponsible to reveal to potential bidders how much would be sought for the sale.

There are no other plans to sell off public assets, he said.

“I’m confident this is exactly the thing we need to do,” he said.

Trucks will also have a direct link from the west to the Port of Melbourne, removing 5000 trucks a day from the West Gate Bridge.