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Media Release

31/10/2001

Batchelor Blows His Budget - Scoresby Splurge Leaves No Money For Pakenham Bypass

The Bracks Government could not afford to match Federal funding for the $200 million Pakenham Bypass because it had committed its entire budget surplus to the Scoresby Freeway, the Public Transport Users Association said today.

Both the Coalition and the ALP have promised $100 million of Federal funding for the 17-kilometre bypass of Pakenham. But this funding is conditional on a matching $100 million contribution from the State Government, which Transport Minister Peter Batchelor says he cannot promise.

"Batchelor can't promise it because he's emptied the till with $500 million for the Scoresby Freeway," said PTUA President Paul Mees. "Having committed this enormous sum, he simply can't afford to do anything else for voters in the Outer East. So he's left even his own Federal colleagues high and dry, to make empty promises that cannot be fulfilled."

Dr Mees gave as an example the lack of serious funding for public transport in the region. "Compared to $900 million all up for the Scoresby Freeway, all we've got for public transport in this election campaign is $50 million for 4000 metres of tram line. For years now, the local community has been calling for a package of public transport measures costing around $250 million, which the government's own consultants suggest would have greater benefits than the Scoresby Freeway. For the $900 million cost of Scoresby, we could easily implement the public transport alternative, fully fund the Pakenham Bypass, and still have plenty left over."

"Mr Batchelor has instead effectively said to Outer East communities that they'll get the Scoresby Freeway and nothing else," Dr Mees said. "Not only has he blown his own budget, he has talked both sides of Federal politics into supporting this colossal waste of taxpayers' money."

Dr Mees called on all parties in the Federal election to distance themselves from 'Batchelor's Scoresby agenda'. "This is a huge sum of money and should be used to benefit everyone in Melbourne's east, not just trucking companies that want to avoid City Link tolls."

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 31 October 2001