Recently we wrote to the planning minister, Mr Wynne, to ask for an extension of time to be given so we could respond to the environment effects statement (EES) for the western distributor, which this week is called the West Gate tunnel. There are 17 documents in the EES that my office, local volunteer community groups and local councils have to respond to. We requested that the minister allow us more than 30 days. It is simply not enough.
This request has been refused. Clearly the minister has no regard for a transparent process that the community can actually engage in. This is a major project that so far has had a very poor consultation process, and it will have a massive effect on the community. Yet Mr Wynne has such little regard for my community that he has refused an extension of time that would allow us to actually deal with the 17 complicated and technical documents.
The government at this stage has not proved basic things such as: will it actually take as many trucks off the road as they claim, how will the truck ban work, when will the work actually start and what will the tolls be for this? Also, does it mean, especially if there are tolls, that the major companies will still organise to rat-run through Yarraville, Spotswood and Footscray? A bit of consideration for the community, please, Mr Wynne. I do not think having an extension of time on the EES would have hurt the process at all.