Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure, Ryan Smith
In the month since the Government released the reports from Infrastructure Victoria’s Citizen’s Juries, the process has completely unravelled.
Already one of the Premier’s backbenchers has ruled out recommendations affecting her seat.
However, the Premier has NOT ruled out several options that will increase cost of living for many Victorians, including increasing public transport tickets at peak times and shutting down the entire La Trobe Valley coal industry.
The Government’s unwillingness to rule these options out when others have been binned suggests they are very much part of their secret agenda, and that the citizen’s jury process is now a complete farce.
There are also serious questions about the probity of the Jury process.
Despite the Government promising no interference in the process, on the final day of deliberations Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson told the Jury “a lot of Ministers have been asking about the Jury, and trying to find out what recommendations you guys will come up with.”
It is also known that on day 5 of the Jury process, a draft report was completed in which the East West Link option was “strongly endorsed”. On Day 6 – the final day – the East West Link option was the ONLY option that the facilitators asked the Jury to rethink, as it was “controversial”.
As a result “strongly endorsed” was changed to “majority support”.
The Premier must immediately confirm if he, his Ministers, or any staffers put any pressure on Infrastructure Victoria to change its “independent” jury report.
East West Link
Regardless, even against this Government pressure Daniel Andrews’ handpicked jury clearly says that East West Link must be on the table. He must now admit that his $1.1 billion decision to scrape this project was a mistake.
At a time when Victorians are more scared in their own home than ever, the Jury report quotes Labor appointed former Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon as saying that “crime statistics increase as police numbers increase.” When later asked how to solve community fear about crime, she told your Jury “get people to stop reading the Herald Sun”.
The Premier must immediately say if he supports Ms Nixon’s view that there is no crime problem in Victoria.
Given the farce that now surrounds this Citizen’s Jury process, the people of Geelong presently involved in this process have a right to know if their work will be supported by the Government, or is just another Daniel Andrews delaying tactic from the talkfest Premier.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure, Ryan Smith:
This Infrastructure Victoria process is now a farce.
The possibility of the Government putting pressure on Infrastructure Victoria to change the report’s recommendations ends any pretence that this will be an independent body.
Faced with rising crime figures, rising home invasions and carjackings, the Premier’s response seems to be ‘what crime?’.
After two years of spin, this talkfest Premier needs to end the talking, the reports, and the consultations, and starting DOING things to tackle Victoria’s mounting infrastructure and crime problems.
Media contact: Hannah Pandel 0409 234 530 firstname.lastname@example.org