Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — Last week construction started on the West Gate tunnel project, and I was delighted to attend the opening of the northern portal project site on Whitehall Street, Footscray, not too far from my office. A second site on Somerville Road, Yarraville, will be opening later this year, with these two sites set to create over 500 direct jobs in their peak construction phase.

Over the next five years we will see project sites established across the inner west to facilitate the widening of the West Gate Freeway and assist with the different stages of the tunnel’s development. This long-awaited alternative to the West Gate Bridge will create over 6000 Victorian jobs, ease congestion on some of the western suburb’s most clogged-up roads, revitalise the local area and get trucks off the residential streets. With the West Gate Freeway going from eight to 12 lanes, as well as the new bridge and tunnel going through to the Maribyrnong River, this project will transform the lives of workers who need to use this route daily. When this project is completed in 2022, these workers will get to work more quickly and home to their families sooner.

The government has also provided assurances that there will be significant community consultation throughout the project’s construction stage. Local businesses, residents and motorists will be kept informed, and there will also be a focus on maintaining the amenity of the local area.

I commend the Premier, Daniel Andrews, and the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, on the excellent work they have done in providing new roads and upgrades for the west. This government is getting on with the job of building the first-class, productivity-boosting infrastructure that Victoria needs.

6 February 2018