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.
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.
BUILT FOR PROFITS, NOT THE PUBLIC
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.
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.
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.