Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: West Gate Tunnel

Ministers statements: West Gate Tunnel

Jacinta ALLAN (Bendigo East – Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop, Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery) (14:30): This morning the fabulous member for Footscray and I witnessed a great moment in the West Gate Tunnel Project when we had the opportunity to see how Vida the tunnel-boring machine, one of the two biggest tunnel-boring machines operating in the Southern Hemisphere, broke through a 2.8-kilometre tunnel that makes up the heart of the West Gate Tunnel Project.

What was particularly special about the opportunity to be in the tunnel portal this morning with the member for Footscray was our opportunity to thank some of the 50,000 workers who work on the Andrews Labor government’s Big Build. We got this morning to talk to the tunnellers who have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the last nine months to achieve this tunnel breakthrough. As we talked to them with great pride about their skills and the contributions they have made to the Victorian community, they talked about their optimism for the pipeline of tunnelling projects that we have ahead of us, how they could see that there was a North East Link and there was a Suburban Rail Loop project that were part of the big and important pipeline of transport infrastructure projects that is only being backed in by the Andrews Labor government.

We have seen that for communities in the western suburbs – I know the member for Williamstown and the member for Footscray know this well – this is a project that will take thousands of trucks off local roads. It will slash travel times from Ballarat and from Geelong all the way into the city for people coming in and out of the west. For the freight industry it will provide that much-needed connection to the Port of Melbourne, another big job generator for our city and state. Of course there are others. While they were getting their feathers fluffed down at the Southbank studio, supporting and cheering on the campaign to cut and audit our pipeline of projects, we stood firmly with those workers and the Victorian community to get these jobs done.