Dear Premier Andrews and Minister Donnellan,

We want a clean and healthy city for our community.

The West Gate toll road will not fix chronic air pollution, especially in Melbourne’s West. Instead, it will entrench truck and car dependency and funnel more cars into our inner suburbs and CBD.

More cars and more trucks means more and more pollution.

No other smart, modern city in the world is driving traffic into its inner suburbs and CBD. The West Gate toll road has been condemned by planning experts and local councils, including the City of Melbourne.

We urgently need to get freight-on-rail, ban old trucks from the port, and build public transport that keeps up with our growing city.

We all want a clean and liveable city.

The West Gate Toll Road will entrench car and truck use for decades, contributing to pollution and congestion. It will flood inner-city streets with more cars.

This disastrous project is all about corporate influence, and does not serve the public good.

Melbourne’s liveability is dependent on building environmentally sustainable, door-to-door public transport that keeps up with our growing city.


More cars and more trucks means more pollution. This project ensures trucks will remain the primary option for moving freight for decades. Children in the West are already hospitalised with breathing problems at rates 70% higher than the Victorian average. Sending trucks underground does not stop them from spewing diesel pollution into the air we breathe.


No other smart, modern city in the world is building new mega toll roads and driving traffic into its CBD and inner suburbs. Building bigger roads doesn’t work; the West Gate toll road will be gridlocked just 10 years after it’s built. We need more and better public transport to reduce congestion on our roads.


Building mega toll roads encourages more people to drive, creating more congestion on our roads. The West Gate Toll Road will dump thousands of cars onto inner city residential streets every day, paving the way for the East West Link. The Liberals have already said they would build it – how long until Labor backflip? East West Link toll road threatens our park land and the future of Doncaster Rail. Instead of spending billions on disastrous toll roads, we can fix congestion with better public transport for just a fraction of the cost.


The West Gate Toll Road is all about Transurban profits. Transurban, who pay no company tax, proposed the project to Labor for one reason: profit. When Labor signed the contract in December 2017, they put in clauses promising to compensate Transurban if the road isn’t built or tolling on CityLink isn’t extended. Labor guaranteed that Transurban will make billions in profit and in doing so, put all the risk on the taxpayer. The financial media’s response was that this was a very sweet deal for Transurban. Despite pressure from the Greens and the community, Labor has not released this part of the contract, and continues to hide away their dodgy deal.


In 2017, Transurban made $6 billion in revenue, including $687 million in tolls from Victorian drivers alone and contributed not one dollar in company tax.

Transurban exploits their dominance, gouging 86% profit margins on CityLink, and leaving people with little other choice.

In the ‘90s Transurban contributed just $1.8 billion to the Citylink toll road project, but are set to gouge $20 billion from Victorians in profit.

The old parties are in the pocket of Transurban. The ALP and the Liberals have accepted more than $60,000 in donations from Transurban. In return, Transurban makes $60,000 from CityLink drivers every 45 minutes.

Labor have not released all the details of their dodgy deal with Transurban for the West Gate Toll Road, but we know it will funnel cash from working families to the bank vaults of CEOs like Scott Charlton.

In 2017, Transurban CEO Scott Charlton was paid $6.6 million, including an bonus of $2.5 million – 80 times the annual pay of the average Victorian.



We need a transport network that connects, rather than divides our city.

We can build a transport system for all Victorians – a system that is equitable, affordable, frequent and reliable, by design. We need door-to-door public transport options that enhance liveability and strategically caters for our growing city.


Melbourne is expanding rapidly. Now is the time for planning for a clean and healthy city – not for building mega toll roads that contribute to pollution and congestion. Let’s get freight onto rail and build truck off ramps as was proposed in 2014. Let’s build a truly integrated public transport system. We need clean and sustainable transport to keep Melbourne the world’s most liveable city.
About Huong

Huong Truong is the Greens State MP for the Western Suburbs. Growing up and working in the the West, Huong has extensive experience supporting local environmental groups, delivering bike paths, and creating more sustainable suburbs. And as an activist, Huong worked for community groups that accelerate action on climate change, protecting our biodiversity, and building multicultural diversity & inclusion at the grassroots.

About Ellen

Ellen Sandell is the Greens State MP for Melbourne. Ellen joined the successful community campaign against the East-West toll road in 2014. By electing Ellen to represent Melbourne in 2014, our community sent a clear message to the old parties: we want a clean and liveable city. Now Ellen is fighting for a liveable Melbourne in the Victorian Parliament. Ellen loves Melbourne and our shared commitment to diversity and fairness, and has worked hard for social justice all her adult life.


Our campaign is run and supported by local community members, organisations, businesses, councillors and grassroots activists. We’re mums and dads, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters and neighbours. We care about our community and the direction of our city.

What is the West Gate Toll Road?
The West Gate Toll Road is a $6.7 billion toll road which Transurban proposed to the Victorian Labor Government – not to solve Melbourne’s transport problems, but to make big profits. Labor refused to release modelling questioning the project and released a heavily blacked out business case. The project used to be called the Western Distributor, but was renamed the West Gate Tunnel when the government released its new route in April 2017. • Widening of the West Gate Freeway from the Ring Road to Williamstown Road. • A tunnel from west of Williamstown Road to just south of Footscray Road. • A bridge over the Maribyrnong River and a freeway above Footscray Road, exiting to City Link, North and West Melbourne, and Wurundjeri Way in Docklands.
Will The West Gate Toll road fix the problem of trucks on local streets?
Millers road in Brooklyn, already with some of the worst air pollution in Australia, along with the northern section of Williamstown Road in Yarraville, Kingsville and Seddon which are expected to see a dramatic increase of truck numbers, and associated air pollution. Local families and businesses are in an uproar but Labor is ignoring their pleas to cancel this project. At the completion of the project there will be some truck bans, but we could have the same truck bans with truck off-ramps from the West Gate Freeway (West Gate Distributor). The real, long term solution to the truck problem is putting shipping containers on trains. The Port-Rail Shuttle would halve the amount of trucks using the port, and take an estimated 3,500 trucks off our roads every day by taking containers by train to three distribution hubs around Melbourne. Most of the infrastructure is already in place and it would cost just $58 million to finish it off – less than one percent of the cost of the Western Gate Toll Road. This would not only reduce truck traffic crossing the river, it would also reduce truck movements to and from distribution hubs and container storage areas in the inner west.
What is the West Gate Distributor (truck off ramps) project?
The West Gate Distributor project is the plan that Labor took to the 2014 election, but then dumped in favour of Transurban’s West Gate Tunnel toll road. The project was designed to build truck off ramps off the West Gate Freeway (before the West Gate Bridge) and create a dedicated truck route to the port, via Whitehall Street on the edge of Yarraville. This plan would cost a fraction of the cost of the West Gate Tunnel – $500 million (compared with $6.7 billion). The West Gate Distributor would be a far quicker and cheaper solution to our truck problems. And if Labor stuck to its election promise, the West Gate Distributor would have been built by now, and would already be removing trucks from our streets.
What is East West Link?
East West Link is a proposed toll road linking the Eastern Freeway to the western suburbs, which we stopped in 2014 with a huge community campaign. The original plan included a tunnel under Royal Park to CityLink at Parkville. The Liberals have now proposed another more southern route which connects to the West Gate Toll Road. The Liberals won’t tell us which route they’ll build.
How much will the West Gate Toll Road cost?
$6.7 billion, with $2.7 billion paid by the Victorian Government. The remainder will be funded by Transurban, which they will make back by charging $16.80 per day for cars on the West Gate Tunnel and extending CityLink tolls for another 10 years.
When will the West Gate Toll Road be built?
The Labor Government signed contracts in 2017. Construction began in 2018, but tunnelling doesn’t begin until 2019. Essentially, we need to stop the West Gate Toll Road before the tunnel boring machines start in early 2019. Local communities will have to deal with construction for five years. In mid 2018, unions flagged the possibility of massive delays.
Will the West Gate Toll Road reduce traffic congestion on the West Gate Freeway?
By the Labor Government’s own projections, the West Gate Bridge will be even more congested in 15 years’ time than it is now. Labor are cutting two lanes from parts of the West Gate freeway to make way for the toll road, so the commute over the West Gate Bridge will be even worse than it is today. Building more toll ways to tackle congestion does not work. Infrastructure Victoria, the State Government’s independent advisory body, has said that “experience shows that just building infrastructure attracts more road users until roads are congested once again.”
Will the West Gate Toll road reduce travel times?
No. The Labor Government’s own report shows that Transurban’s new toll road will only make things worse. Labor are cutting two lanes from parts of the West Gate freeway to make way for the toll road, so the commute over the West Gate Bridge will be even worse than it is today. Commuters from the outer west will be able to use the West Gate Tunnel, but in 2031 it would only be 3 minutes faster on the way in than the slow 2016 commute, or 5 minutes on the way out. And that’s after enduring five years of roadworks, and paying a hefty toll to Transurban for the so-called “convenience”. The only real solution is to make public transport an alternative for people in the outer west, and to get more shipping containers off trucks in the city and onto rail.
What's the solution for the Outer West?
Successive governments have taken people in the west for granted. We deserve access to a world class, integrated public transport system. Many people in the west want to use public transport. When the Tarneit Train Station opened in 2015, people flocked to it, quickly making it the busiest V/Line station after Southern Cross. We need more accessible public transport If we build a reliable, integrated and efficient public transport system, with frequent buses connecting to trains, it will take people off the roads. Public transport can move people in a way that roads just can’t. A train line can carry 40,000 people per hour in both directions, while a freeway only manages 24,000, and that’s when it’s a massive 12 lane one. We must invest in better public transport for Melbourne’s west. It’s a much more long-term solution than building a freeway, widening it, then widening it again as it continues to fill up.
What's the solution for the Inner West?
After a lot of campaigning by the community and the Greens, the government has agreed to ban trucks from some local streets, but this will not happen until the project is complete. We should build truck off-ramps off the West Gate Freeway, which would direct trucks around the edge of Yarraville, along Francis and Whitehall Streets and away from houses. The real, long term solution, is to put shipping containers on to rail. The Port-Rail Shuttle would take an estimated 3,500 trucks off our roads every day by taking containers by train to three freight terminals around Melbourne. Most of the infrastructure is already in place and it would cost just $58 million to finish it off – less than one percent of the cost of the West Gate Toll Road.
How would the West Gate Tunnel affect CityLink tolls?
Transurban only has the right to charge tolls on CityLink till 2035. But to fund the West Gate Toll Road, Labor is letting Transurban extend CityLink tolls for 10 years, meaning that people who never use it will be funding the road. The West Gate Tunnel could also blow the opportunity to end Transurban tolling early. There is a clause in the CityLink contract which would allow the tolling to end in 2025 if CityLink is making super profits. Whether or not CityLink is currently making super profits is debatable, but if Labor allows Transurban to build the West Gate Toll Road, it will probably blow this opportunity.
Will the West Gate Tunnel project be good for cyclists?
The West Gate Toll Road project includes plans for a veloway along Footscray Road. It would hang underneath the new toll road, over the top of the existing multi-lane road — surrounded by traffic and fumes. It doesn’t have any exits along the route besides stairs, creating problems for people with flat tyres or those who don’t want to be in a confined space at night with no easy escape. The project also includes a bridge over Footscray Road for cyclists coming south along Moonee Ponds Creek, a bridge over Whitehall Street in Footscray and completion of the Federation Trail to Hyde Street for cyclists coming in from the west — welcome improvements that should happen now, not in five years when the toll road opens. We shouldn’t need a $6.7 billion toll road to get decent bike infrastructure. During construction parts of the Federation trial will be closed, forcing cyclist to mix with vehicles and trucks on roads with no bike lanes.
Authorised by H. Truong, 75 Victoria St, Seddon VIC 3011.