QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE AND MINISTERS STATEMENTS Ministers statements: West Gate tunnel project

Mr PALLAS (Treasurer) (12:24:16) — It gives me great pleasure to advise the house on the progress the government is making in delivering the vital West Gate tunnel. Today work started on the construction of an enormous tunnelling hub that will process excavated dirt and rock. Of course some 500 workers are already being employed at the hub once it is operational and 6000 are being employed overall.

But those 6000 jobs are really only a drop in the ocean of work that is associated with the economic benefit that will flow from this vital project. It is a project that will secure Victoria’s economic future. In practical terms, the Victorian economy is going gangbusters, in no small part due to the enormous infrastructure investment that this government is getting on and delivering. The West Gate tunnel will deliver a freeway‑standard access to the port of Melbourne and a badly overdue alternative to the West Gate Bridge. The need for that alternative was graphically demonstrated with the jackknifing of a truck on the West Gate Freeway, causing the entire arterial road network to come to a standstill.

Of course we will provide some highlights of the outstanding business case that was put on the record. It shows an $11 billion boost to the Victorian economy. That truck jackknife two weeks ago demonstrated a capacity to create a redundancy risk on our vital arterials that the economy cannot withstand. This project will unclog the road network. It will provide vital jobs, it will boost the economy and in particular it will create a boost to the western suburbs — the home of the fastest growing part of the state and the fastest growing population. This government is getting on and delivering the economic vitality they need.