THIS week I have had the dubious pleasure of learning a new word, or, perhaps more precisely, I have discovered the appropriate term to apply to the Napthine COAL-ition Government’s latest undemocratic debacle.
The rushed signing of the East-West Link contract with a cowardly “side letter” contemptuously locks every Victorian tax-payer into handing over hundreds of millions of dollars to its corporate mates regardless of whether this deeply unpopular road is built or not.
No cost benefit analysis, no independent environmental impact studies, regional public transport infrastructure ignored, parklands and neighbourhoods gutted and absolutely no electoral mandate because a likely outgoing premier doesn’t have the courage to take his “signature infrastructure project” to the forthcoming November 29 state election.
Napthine’s East West Link is a glaring “boondoggle” – an extravagant project that consumes tax-payer funds but is ultimately useless. International experience and traffic modelling experts tell us that this ill-conceived multi-billion dollar road will ease traffic congestion for no more than five years.
It would be fantastic to see and hear state opposition leader Daniel Andrews, and the current Labor MPs for Bendigo East and West pledging unequivocal commitment to the cancellation of this premature contract and “side letter”.
It would be even better if enough voters were, at long last, resolutely sick and tired enough of being repeatedly boondoggled (euphemistic inference intended) by the old parties, to begin voting for the only party with forward-looking, coherent regional and metropolitan transport policies – the Victorian Greens.