Nov 16, 2016

Government must get behind Thompsons Road upgrade

The Turnbull Government must match Labor’s commitment to invest in an upgrade of Thompsons Road at Cranbourne after failing to include this important project in road funding announcements made this week.

During this year’s election campaign Labor proposed a package of works on roads in growth areas of outer Melbourne, including Thompsons Road, O’Herns Road, Craigieburn Road and Bridge Inn Road.

The package was specifically aimed at ensuring that high-growth areas are provided with adequate infrastructure as they are developed, rather than responding retrospectively when population growth creates traffic congestion.

While Labor welcomes the Government’s decision to invest in a range of Melbourne projects using money it withheld after the cancellation its flawed East-West Link project, Thompsons Road should have been included in the package.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said worsening traffic congestion across Australian cities made it imperative that the Federal Government work with states and local government to deliver adequate infrastructure in growth areas.

“Labor remains committed to upgrading Thompsons Road,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“The Turnbull Government’s road announcements this week copied Labor’s election policy on projects like the O’Herns Road upgrade but it should also commit to Thompsons Road.”

Member for Holt Anthony Byrne welcomed the Commonwealth commitment to additional investment to upgrade the Monash Freeway, which reversed funding cuts the Government made when it took office.

“However, the upgrade to Thompsons Rd is a key priority,’’ Mr Byrne said. “It is clear that the Coalition is not committed to easing congestion for people living in Cranbourne who use Thompsons Rd each day.’’

Mr Albanese also condemned Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester’s comment on Monday that $1.5 billion allocated to new road funding this week had been “sitting in the bank doing nothing’’.

“The Coalition Government chose to leave this money sitting in the bank doing nothing for two years since the cancellation of the East-West Link project,” Mr Albanese said.

“It could have been re-allocated to other projects years ago, which would have seen many of these projects already completed or underway.’’