Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (09:55:51): Today I want to talk about the North East Link. It is an important project. It is one of our largest transport infrastructure undertakings to date.
Recently I have engaged closely with the community in my electorate to ensure that they are aware and they have assistance in preparing their submissions for the environment effects statement (EES). In the past fortnight my office has received a huge number of calls, emails and messages from residents, sporting clubs and local councils.
Despite the massive scale and importance of the project, the formal consultation period has only been 40 days. Ten of those days were over the extended Easter-Anzac period. I have asked the Minister for Transport Infrastructure to extend the deadline of this Friday, 7 June, with no response.
My concerns, which I will present in my own submission, are that the barebones reference design presented in the EES has been superseded yet approvals are still being sought, and upgrades to major feeder roads such as Bulleen Road south of the Eastern Freeway and Templestowe Road will not be included in the project.
I am concerned about the real impacts on residents during the construction and that the community has been given little more than 30 days to respond to 10 000 pages.
At 5.00 p.m. on Friday the door will shut on this project, and the authority has advised there will be no consultation with the tendering organisations.
We need this infrastructure but we only have one chance to get it right, one chance to get the best value from almost $16 billion of taxpayers money.
I hope the government will do the right thing by my Eastern Metropolitan Region community and listen to them.