• About Wade

    Wade was elected to the Victorian Parliament to represent the seat of Williamstown district in September 2007, following the retirement of long serving Victorian Premier and Williamstown MP, Steve Bracks. Wade currently lives in Williamstown with his wife and two children, making him the fourth generation of his family to live in Melbourne’s inner west.

  • Williamstown

    The provenance of the electoral district of Williamstown extends back to the establishment of the first free and independent Victorian Parliament in 1856.

  • Sky High and the Education Precinct

    The Andrews Labor Government has committed $15 million in order to build a pre-school to tertiary education precinct in the inner west.

  • Investing in Local Schools

    The Andrews Labor Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in our local schools.

  • About Wade

    Wade was elected to the Victorian Parliament to represent the seat of Williamstown district in September 2007, following the retirement of long serving Victorian Premier and Williamstown MP, Steve Bracks. Wade currently lives in Williamstown with his wife and two children, making him the fourth generation of his family to live in Melbourne’s inner west.

Media Centre

Constituency Question: Footscray Learning Precinct

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (12:51:46) — (13 999) Today my question is to the Minister for Education and it concerns the Footscray learning precinct. As the minister will be well aware, the member for Footscray and I have worked for many years to build support for a new education precinct to be developed in the Footscray-Seddon area to deliver groundbreaking preschool-to-postgraduate education facilities and pathways. Much work has now been done on the concept and structure for this precinct and the community has been consulted widely. My question to the minister concerns the new secondary school facility to be built on Pilgrim Street, and I ask specifically: what progress has been made to secure the site?   Hon James MERLINO MP (Minister for Education) The Premier and I visited John Henry Primary School on 13 March to announce a $236.8 million investment to purchase land for 14 new school sites across Victoria. One of the sites to receive funding as part of this announcement was for the new Seddon Campus of the Footscray Learning Precinct. This funding announcement is a significant milestone for your community and I congratulate you for your strong advocacy, over a very long time, to see a secondary school delivered in this part of your electorate. The proposed site for the Footscray Learning Precinct junior secondary college in Seddon has a number of different landowners, including a parcel of land already in the ownership of the Department of Education and Training. The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) has initiated conversations with a number of stakeholders, including Maribyrnong City Council, VicTrack and Victoria University. The VSBA is working to secure the entire site as quickly as possible. It is envisaged that ownership of the different land parcels will be secured progressively throughout 2018. I trust this information is of assistance.  

Constituency Question: Footscray Learning Precinct

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (12:51:46) — (13 999) Today my question is to the Minister for Education and it concerns the Footscray learning precinct. As the minister will be well aware, the member for Footscray and I have worked for many years to build support for a new education precinct to be developed in the Footscray-Seddon area to deliver groundbreaking preschool-to-postgraduate education facilities and pathways. Much work has now been done on the concept and structure for this precinct and the community has been consulted widely. My question to the minister concerns the new secondary school facility to be built on Pilgrim Street, and I ask specifically: what progress has been made to secure the site?   Hon James MERLINO MP (Minister for Education) The Premier and I visited John Henry Primary School on 13 March to announce a $236.8 million investment to purchase land for 14 new school sites across Victoria. One of the sites to receive funding as part of this announcement was for the new Seddon Campus of the Footscray Learning Precinct. This funding announcement is a significant milestone for your community and I congratulate you for your strong advocacy, over a very long time, to see a secondary school delivered in this part of your electorate. The proposed site for the Footscray Learning Precinct junior secondary college in Seddon has a number of different landowners, including a parcel of land already in the ownership of the Department of Education and Training. The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) has initiated conversations with a number of stakeholders, including Maribyrnong City Council, VicTrack and Victoria University. The VSBA is working to secure the entire site as quickly as possible. It is envisaged that ownership of the different land parcels will be secured progressively throughout 2018. I trust this information is of assistance.  

Constituency Question: Seaworks Maritime Precinct

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (12:52:35) — (14 083) My question today is for the Minister for Ports and it concerns the upgrades to Seaworks Maritime Precinct in Williamstown. As the minister will be aware, the Andrews Labor government has committed $3 million to provide much-needed upgrades and new facilities for the site, which already attracts more than 100 000 visitors per year. This work would transform the site to allow more activities, exhibitions and events for the local community. Can the minister provide a full outline of what specific improvements will be made to this site as a result of the $3 million investment? Hon Luke DONNELLAN (Minister for Ports) I thank the Member for his question. The funding is being used for the Stage 1A redevelopment of the Seaworks Maritime Precinct, the first stage of a broader masterplan for this maritime precinct. This initial stage includes:  Construction of a new external amenities block for the use of all staff and visitors to the precinct; Upgrades of the Nelson Place and rear building facades; Preliminary works to allow for building infrastructure upgrades, including asbestos removal, demolition and repair works, and provision of electrical and other services; Upgrades to the internal building spaces (both lower and upper levels), and event space; and Construction of the mezzanine and upper floor areas. This project is expected to attract greater business opportunities for the Maritime Precinct's indoor and outdoor event spaces, and improve accessibility to the Maritime Precinct spaces. Stage 1A works are currently progressing well and are on track to be completed by the end of June 2018.

Constituency Question: Seaworks Maritime Precinct

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (12:52:35) — (14 083) My question today is for the Minister for Ports and it concerns the upgrades to Seaworks Maritime Precinct in Williamstown. As the minister will be aware, the Andrews Labor government has committed $3 million to provide much-needed upgrades and new facilities for the site, which already attracts more than 100 000 visitors per year. This work would transform the site to allow more activities, exhibitions and events for the local community. Can the minister provide a full outline of what specific improvements will be made to this site as a result of the $3 million investment? Hon Luke DONNELLAN (Minister for Ports) I thank the Member for his question. The funding is being used for the Stage 1A redevelopment of the Seaworks Maritime Precinct, the first stage of a broader masterplan for this maritime precinct. This initial stage includes:  Construction of a new external amenities block for the use of all staff and visitors to the precinct; Upgrades of the Nelson Place and rear building facades; Preliminary works to allow for building infrastructure upgrades, including asbestos removal, demolition and repair works, and provision of electrical and other services; Upgrades to the internal building spaces (both lower and upper levels), and event space; and Construction of the mezzanine and upper floor areas. This project is expected to attract greater business opportunities for the Maritime Precinct's indoor and outdoor event spaces, and improve accessibility to the Maritime Precinct spaces. Stage 1A works are currently progressing well and are on track to be completed by the end of June 2018.

Engineers Registration Bill 2018

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (16:07:20) — It is my pleasure this afternoon to rise and speak in support of the Engineers Registration Bill 2018. I have listened very carefully to the contributions. I think it is worth starting with some background in relation to the passage of this legislation to this place, because there is no doubt that work has been done and leadership has been shown — I want to shout out to my colleague Daniel Mulino in the other place, the Treasurer and other members of cabinet for the work that they have done and also the significant work done by our public servants — in relation to going out and listening very clearly through industry round tables which occurred in 2015 and 2016. There were some further consultations through a consultation paper in 2016, which yielded about 40 submissions from everyone from academics, retired and practising engineers and others with a very strong interest in engineering. There were further meetings all the way through last year and indeed there was further consultation on an exposure draft of this particular piece of legislation. So there has been a very comprehensive process of listening, crafting and shaping a piece of legislation before it actually comes to this place for debate. I have listened to the contributions to this debate. It would be fair in terms of the contributions from those opposite to think that there are very few who support this piece of legislation. When you have got Professionals Australia and Engineers Australia saying they support this, to discredit their support by in some way suggesting they will be cash cow beneficiaries in terms of the legislation is disingenuous, because those professional bodies are interested in upholding the very important standards for their professions. There are very few professions of this quality — we look at lawyers who are obviously practising and licensed, we look at accountants who are certified, we look at the medical profession in terms of doctors — where essentially the function of the work of an engineer is often to deliver projects worth billions and billions of dollars. When things go wrong on those projects, I think it would be fair to say that the whole profession is damaged. It could be said that the same goes for lawyers and doctors or, in the other case, accountants; when something significant goes wrong, it affects the whole profession. So I have no doubt as to the motives of Engineers Australia and Professionals Australia in terms of why they are pushing for this to happen in Victoria, and I in fact congratulate them on their advocacy, because I understand from my own professional background that it is very difficult and you have to be very patient and push for a registration scheme over a long period of time, get some commitments and go through the development process before you see a piece of legislation in the Parliament, as we do today. In having a look at some of the various contributions in relation to the detail of this legislation I picked up an article from the Australian Financial Review that was written earlier this month. It quotes Chris Walton, the chief executive of the association of professional engineers. He does reference the tragic events of New Zealand — in fact, in Christchurch, with the earthquake over there: We saw the worst of this in Christchurch five years ago when the CTV building collapsed, killing 115 people — a building which was planned by a fake engineer … If that is not something that we should solemnly reflect on in terms of this piece of legislation and the importance of this scheme, I do not know what is. We can come up with all of the cost-benefit analysis and the like, but I think the importance around the standards of this profession is critical, because the instance that Mr Walton refers to where lives were lost is a very significant issue that we all need to reflect on. I think it is also interesting to learn that in fact Engineers Australia, according to the AustralianFinancial Review piece, already has a voluntary national register. It is available online and there are about 18 000 names currently listed, and that is a very significant number. Of course the piece in the Financial Review also talks about the fact that other jurisdictions — New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Singapore and Japan — all in fact have registration schemes and points to the fact that with engineers, a quality profession of course, we have a situation here where engineers are being hired from overseas countries to work here in Australia on 457 visas, and they are not currently the subject of any independent reviews. That is worth keeping in mind in relation to this piece of legislation as well. This profession and in fact the importance of this legislation is absolutely underlined by the infrastructure boom that is happening in Victoria right now. As a former industry minister I understand very critically that we have about 80 strategic projects either in delivery or being planned to be delivered over the forward period. That is an extraordinary — in fact, a record — building program here in Victoria, in part to cope with our record population growth as well. There are about 20 000 jobs being created during this period. One of the very good things we have done as part of our policy settings here in Victoria is a program called the Major Project Skills Guarantee, where any project over the value of $20 million is subject to 10 per cent of the workforce being engaged being apprentices, trainees and cadets. This is quite literally creating thousands of new opportunities for young people. In fact when I was the industry minister it was one of the nicest components of the job to go out to projects like level crossing removals, the early works on the metro rail tunnel, the vertical school in South Melbourne and the West Gate tunnel and meet and talk to young engineering graduates about how excited they were to be working on some of the largest infrastructure being built in Victoria in a generation. You could tell that they were really chasing hard the opportunity to work on these particular projects. I think it is has been a terrific policy, and a policy that should never be thrown out in this state and that we should continue to ensure that young people get a start on our major infrastructure projects. It is not a burden on industry. In fact when you talk to contractors and subcontractors on site they will tell you that they may have had some reservations about the burden that might be imposed by a policy like that but that it has absolutely been embraced because young people bring an energy to these projects which is a bit infectious. In looking at this particular bill and what it does, it is clear that the objectives are really threefold. Firstly, to establish a mandatory statutory registration scheme for Victorian engineers — and the bill does strike the right balance ultimately. The second objective is to promote best practice in providing engineering services — we want to be a benchmark here in Victoria. Thirdly, we want to raise the profile of engineering because it is one of the great exports, professional services, in the Victorian context — something that was brought to the fore, I suppose, during the Land 400 negotiations. There you have got Rheinmetall, who have got engineers based in Victoria who do not want to move to Queensland as part of the winning bid; they want to stay here in Victoria. This is the state that produces more engineering graduates than any other state in Australia. My support for this bill is really for the following reasons. This is a scheme that is not being imposed on the sector; this is a scheme that is being supported by the profession. It comes at a time of significant infrastructure boom. We cannot afford to have problems with our infrastructure in the future. Having the highest level of registration and certification will maintain standards. I think the bill does strike the right balance. Again, that only comes after significant consultation with the sector, and I think it is something that we are likely to see rolled out. If you come back, I suppose, to this place in two or three years, I think we will see registration in other states such as Western Australia and the ACT, where there are already some preliminary discussions going on about doing something that we are doing here in Victoria and that is being done in Queensland. This is a good bill. It should be supported, and I commend those that have brought this bill to the house.  

Engineers Registration Bill 2018

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (16:07:20) — It is my pleasure this afternoon to rise and speak in support of the Engineers Registration Bill 2018. I have listened very carefully to the contributions. I think it is worth starting with some background in relation to the passage of this legislation to this place, because there is no doubt that work has been done and leadership has been shown — I want to shout out to my colleague Daniel Mulino in the other place, the Treasurer and other members of cabinet for the work that they have done and also the significant work done by our public servants — in relation to going out and listening very clearly through industry round tables which occurred in 2015 and 2016. There were some further consultations through a consultation paper in 2016, which yielded about 40 submissions from everyone from academics, retired and practising engineers and others with a very strong interest in engineering. There were further meetings all the way through last year and indeed there was further consultation on an exposure draft of this particular piece of legislation. So there has been a very comprehensive process of listening, crafting and shaping a piece of legislation before it actually comes to this place for debate. I have listened to the contributions to this debate. It would be fair in terms of the contributions from those opposite to think that there are very few who support this piece of legislation. When you have got Professionals Australia and Engineers Australia saying they support this, to discredit their support by in some way suggesting they will be cash cow beneficiaries in terms of the legislation is disingenuous, because those professional bodies are interested in upholding the very important standards for their professions. There are very few professions of this quality — we look at lawyers who are obviously practising and licensed, we look at accountants who are certified, we look at the medical profession in terms of doctors — where essentially the function of the work of an engineer is often to deliver projects worth billions and billions of dollars. When things go wrong on those projects, I think it would be fair to say that the whole profession is damaged. It could be said that the same goes for lawyers and doctors or, in the other case, accountants; when something significant goes wrong, it affects the whole profession. So I have no doubt as to the motives of Engineers Australia and Professionals Australia in terms of why they are pushing for this to happen in Victoria, and I in fact congratulate them on their advocacy, because I understand from my own professional background that it is very difficult and you have to be very patient and push for a registration scheme over a long period of time, get some commitments and go through the development process before you see a piece of legislation in the Parliament, as we do today. In having a look at some of the various contributions in relation to the detail of this legislation I picked up an article from the Australian Financial Review that was written earlier this month. It quotes Chris Walton, the chief executive of the association of professional engineers. He does reference the tragic events of New Zealand — in fact, in Christchurch, with the earthquake over there: We saw the worst of this in Christchurch five years ago when the CTV building collapsed, killing 115 people — a building which was planned by a fake engineer … If that is not something that we should solemnly reflect on in terms of this piece of legislation and the importance of this scheme, I do not know what is. We can come up with all of the cost-benefit analysis and the like, but I think the importance around the standards of this profession is critical, because the instance that Mr Walton refers to where lives were lost is a very significant issue that we all need to reflect on. I think it is also interesting to learn that in fact Engineers Australia, according to the AustralianFinancial Review piece, already has a voluntary national register. It is available online and there are about 18 000 names currently listed, and that is a very significant number. Of course the piece in the Financial Review also talks about the fact that other jurisdictions — New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Singapore and Japan — all in fact have registration schemes and points to the fact that with engineers, a quality profession of course, we have a situation here where engineers are being hired from overseas countries to work here in Australia on 457 visas, and they are not currently the subject of any independent reviews. That is worth keeping in mind in relation to this piece of legislation as well. This profession and in fact the importance of this legislation is absolutely underlined by the infrastructure boom that is happening in Victoria right now. As a former industry minister I understand very critically that we have about 80 strategic projects either in delivery or being planned to be delivered over the forward period. That is an extraordinary — in fact, a record — building program here in Victoria, in part to cope with our record population growth as well. There are about 20 000 jobs being created during this period. One of the very good things we have done as part of our policy settings here in Victoria is a program called the Major Project Skills Guarantee, where any project over the value of $20 million is subject to 10 per cent of the workforce being engaged being apprentices, trainees and cadets. This is quite literally creating thousands of new opportunities for young people. In fact when I was the industry minister it was one of the nicest components of the job to go out to projects like level crossing removals, the early works on the metro rail tunnel, the vertical school in South Melbourne and the West Gate tunnel and meet and talk to young engineering graduates about how excited they were to be working on some of the largest infrastructure being built in Victoria in a generation. You could tell that they were really chasing hard the opportunity to work on these particular projects. I think it is has been a terrific policy, and a policy that should never be thrown out in this state and that we should continue to ensure that young people get a start on our major infrastructure projects. It is not a burden on industry. In fact when you talk to contractors and subcontractors on site they will tell you that they may have had some reservations about the burden that might be imposed by a policy like that but that it has absolutely been embraced because young people bring an energy to these projects which is a bit infectious. In looking at this particular bill and what it does, it is clear that the objectives are really threefold. Firstly, to establish a mandatory statutory registration scheme for Victorian engineers — and the bill does strike the right balance ultimately. The second objective is to promote best practice in providing engineering services — we want to be a benchmark here in Victoria. Thirdly, we want to raise the profile of engineering because it is one of the great exports, professional services, in the Victorian context — something that was brought to the fore, I suppose, during the Land 400 negotiations. There you have got Rheinmetall, who have got engineers based in Victoria who do not want to move to Queensland as part of the winning bid; they want to stay here in Victoria. This is the state that produces more engineering graduates than any other state in Australia. My support for this bill is really for the following reasons. This is a scheme that is not being imposed on the sector; this is a scheme that is being supported by the profession. It comes at a time of significant infrastructure boom. We cannot afford to have problems with our infrastructure in the future. Having the highest level of registration and certification will maintain standards. I think the bill does strike the right balance. Again, that only comes after significant consultation with the sector, and I think it is something that we are likely to see rolled out. If you come back, I suppose, to this place in two or three years, I think we will see registration in other states such as Western Australia and the ACT, where there are already some preliminary discussions going on about doing something that we are doing here in Victoria and that is being done in Queensland. This is a good bill. It should be supported, and I commend those that have brought this bill to the house.  

Adjournment: Ferguson Street, Williamstown

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (19:18:26) — (14 207) My adjournment matter is also for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who in fact has become quite a frequent visitor to the Williamstown electorate, especially to mark the various milestones of the West Gate tunnel project. The action I seek from the minister tonight is that he requests VicRoads assess whether the sequencing of the multiple traffic signals on Ferguson Street at the Williamstown North level crossing can be altered to ease the level of traffic congestion around the various intersections. I make this request in the full knowledge that this level crossing is among the 20 most dangerous level crossings in Melbourne and is in fact listed to be removed by the Andrews Labor government by 2022. Planning for the removal of this crossing is still at the very early stages, hence my request for some potential interim relief in terms of road congestion. For the minister's benefit, the road network in and around this crossing is in fact very complex. There are multiple local roads merging into main roads, with a number of roundabouts all split by the Williamstown rail corridor and the crossing on Ferguson Street. In order to maintain the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians, a number of traffic lights were installed around the local road junctions in 2011. These lights are all sequenced with the railway signals. From a safety point of view, this appears to be a very sensible design, but the practical effect is that all traffic comes to a standstill in every direction when the lights go red together. I know that there have been a number of reviews and in fact some tweaks since the lights were installed, but given it has been a number of years since the last review, I think it is probably time for another assessment to be done. Anything that can be done to free up some congestion around the crossing until it is removed would be extremely welcomed by the community.

Adjournment: Ferguson Street, Williamstown

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (19:18:26) — (14 207) My adjournment matter is also for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who in fact has become quite a frequent visitor to the Williamstown electorate, especially to mark the various milestones of the West Gate tunnel project. The action I seek from the minister tonight is that he requests VicRoads assess whether the sequencing of the multiple traffic signals on Ferguson Street at the Williamstown North level crossing can be altered to ease the level of traffic congestion around the various intersections. I make this request in the full knowledge that this level crossing is among the 20 most dangerous level crossings in Melbourne and is in fact listed to be removed by the Andrews Labor government by 2022. Planning for the removal of this crossing is still at the very early stages, hence my request for some potential interim relief in terms of road congestion. For the minister's benefit, the road network in and around this crossing is in fact very complex. There are multiple local roads merging into main roads, with a number of roundabouts all split by the Williamstown rail corridor and the crossing on Ferguson Street. In order to maintain the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians, a number of traffic lights were installed around the local road junctions in 2011. These lights are all sequenced with the railway signals. From a safety point of view, this appears to be a very sensible design, but the practical effect is that all traffic comes to a standstill in every direction when the lights go red together. I know that there have been a number of reviews and in fact some tweaks since the lights were installed, but given it has been a number of years since the last review, I think it is probably time for another assessment to be done. Anything that can be done to free up some congestion around the crossing until it is removed would be extremely welcomed by the community.

Campaigns

REMOVING DANGEROUS LEVEL CROSSINGS

Level crossings pose a serious risk to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and trains. In addition to that, they cause huge delays, often during peak periods. The Andrews Government understands this. That's why we're working to remove the 50 most dangerous and congested level crossings in Victoria. Two of these are located in my electorate, on Kororoit Creek Road and Ferguson Street in Williamstown. These crossing are used by 22,000 vehicles a day, and the boom gates are down for hours a day. Tragically, the Ferguson Street crossing claimed the lives of two young children in the 1990s. Both crossings have also seen numerous near misses. The removal of these crossings will increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and will allow for the partial duplication of the Altona Loop service, meaning fewer delays and more services. That is why I support the removal of these dangerous crossings. A design has been released for the Kororoit Creek level crossing site. Currently, no design has been released for Ferguson street and no decision has been made. For project updates and information about community consultation sessions, please click here for Kororoit Creek and here for Ferguson street.

REMOVING DANGEROUS LEVEL CROSSINGS

Level crossings pose a serious risk to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and trains. In addition to that, they cause huge delays, often during peak periods. The Andrews Government understands this. That's why we're working to remove the 50 most dangerous and congested level crossings in Victoria. Two of these are located in my electorate, on Kororoit Creek Road and Ferguson Street in Williamstown. These crossing are used by 22,000 vehicles a day, and the boom gates are down for hours a day. Tragically, the Ferguson Street crossing claimed the lives of two young children in the 1990s. Both crossings have also seen numerous near misses. The removal of these crossings will increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and will allow for the partial duplication of the Altona Loop service, meaning fewer delays and more services. That is why I support the removal of these dangerous crossings. A design has been released for the Kororoit Creek level crossing site. Currently, no design has been released for Ferguson street and no decision has been made. For project updates and information about community consultation sessions, please click here for Kororoit Creek and here for Ferguson street.

The West Gate Tunnel Project

The West Gate Tunnel project represents the single largest road project since the West Gate Bridge was opened back in the late 1970s. Melbourne's west is experiencing booming population growth. Population in the region now stands at approximately 830,000 people, up from 611,000 in 2006. Failure to invest in basic infrastructure such as road and rail to support this growth will have a significant and enduring negative impact on the liveability and economic opportunities for Melbourne's west. In these circumstances, doing nothing is not an option. The West Gate Tunnel project will reduce our city's over reliance on the West Gate Bridge and provide a critical second river crossing. The construction of the tunnel will create 6,000 new jobs, including 500 apprenticeships, and up to 150 jobs for former auto workers. After two years of community consultation, the project design incorporates the best quality noise walls in Victoria, the creation of 9 hectares of new open space and wetlands, and 14km of new and upgraded cycling and walking paths. Spotswood sporting clubs will have access to a new shared pavilion in the Donald McLean Reserve and will get, for the first time, new noise walls along its boundary. The West Gate Tunnel will also remove thousands of trucks off local roads. This delivers a massive win for communities in the inner west, with 24/7 truck bans on local roads such as Francis Street and Somerville Road in Yarraville once the tunnel opens in 2022. The release of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) in May has raised some concerns among local residents about potential truck volumes on other local roads such as Hudsons Road, Blackshaws Road, Millers Road and Hyde Street. Our Government remains committed to work with the local community to avoid any future adverse impacts. As local Member, I'm supportive of the need to consider further truck restrictions on local roads to protect community amenity. It would be counter-productive to build the tunnel and have more trucks flood our local streets. We have also commenced discussions with residents in Hyde Street, Yarraville who have requested Government to consider acquiring their properties. To this end, we will continue to work constructively with individuals and organisations that raise concerns about the project. The EES process is expected to be finalised by the end of the year with construction to commence in 2018. The West Gate Tunnel Project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Melbourne's west, and when completed will forever transform the liveability of the inner west.    

The West Gate Tunnel Project

The West Gate Tunnel project represents the single largest road project since the West Gate Bridge was opened back in the late 1970s. Melbourne's west is experiencing booming population growth. Population in the region now stands at approximately 830,000 people, up from 611,000 in 2006. Failure to invest in basic infrastructure such as road and rail to support this growth will have a significant and enduring negative impact on the liveability and economic opportunities for Melbourne's west. In these circumstances, doing nothing is not an option. The West Gate Tunnel project will reduce our city's over reliance on the West Gate Bridge and provide a critical second river crossing. The construction of the tunnel will create 6,000 new jobs, including 500 apprenticeships, and up to 150 jobs for former auto workers. After two years of community consultation, the project design incorporates the best quality noise walls in Victoria, the creation of 9 hectares of new open space and wetlands, and 14km of new and upgraded cycling and walking paths. Spotswood sporting clubs will have access to a new shared pavilion in the Donald McLean Reserve and will get, for the first time, new noise walls along its boundary. The West Gate Tunnel will also remove thousands of trucks off local roads. This delivers a massive win for communities in the inner west, with 24/7 truck bans on local roads such as Francis Street and Somerville Road in Yarraville once the tunnel opens in 2022. The release of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) in May has raised some concerns among local residents about potential truck volumes on other local roads such as Hudsons Road, Blackshaws Road, Millers Road and Hyde Street. Our Government remains committed to work with the local community to avoid any future adverse impacts. As local Member, I'm supportive of the need to consider further truck restrictions on local roads to protect community amenity. It would be counter-productive to build the tunnel and have more trucks flood our local streets. We have also commenced discussions with residents in Hyde Street, Yarraville who have requested Government to consider acquiring their properties. To this end, we will continue to work constructively with individuals and organisations that raise concerns about the project. The EES process is expected to be finalised by the end of the year with construction to commence in 2018. The West Gate Tunnel Project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Melbourne's west, and when completed will forever transform the liveability of the inner west.    

Air Pollution in Brooklyn

For a long time, local residents of Brooklyn have been suffering from an influx of dust over their homes due to the poor quality of roads in the Brooklyn Industrial District. This has had a significant impact on the liveability of the great suburb of Brooklyn. To address this, the Victorian Government brokered a $2.6 million partnership to seal two of the area's dustiest roads in 2015. As a part of this new initiative, the Andrews Government contributed $1.85 million to support the redevelopment and sealing of Bunting Road and Jones Road, two of Brooklyn’s dustiest roads. Since the roads have been sealed, the frequency of bad air quality days in the neighbouring residential area has more than halved, with the greatest air quality improvements occurring between 7-10 am. Although there's still more work to be done, I'm proud of what has been achieved so far in such a short time.

Air Pollution in Brooklyn

For a long time, local residents of Brooklyn have been suffering from an influx of dust over their homes due to the poor quality of roads in the Brooklyn Industrial District. This has had a significant impact on the liveability of the great suburb of Brooklyn. To address this, the Victorian Government brokered a $2.6 million partnership to seal two of the area's dustiest roads in 2015. As a part of this new initiative, the Andrews Government contributed $1.85 million to support the redevelopment and sealing of Bunting Road and Jones Road, two of Brooklyn’s dustiest roads. Since the roads have been sealed, the frequency of bad air quality days in the neighbouring residential area has more than halved, with the greatest air quality improvements occurring between 7-10 am. Although there's still more work to be done, I'm proud of what has been achieved so far in such a short time.

Investing in Local Schools

The Andrews Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in local schools. Delivering on our election commitment, Williamstown High School received $500,000 towards the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, while Bayside College has received $300,000 to upgrade the technical wing at the Williamstown campus. These investments formed part of the first Andrews budget, and we’ve continued the proud Labor record of supporting our local schools in successive budgets. Newport Lakes Primary School received $3 million in the 2016/17 State Budget to upgrade its ageing facilities, and Spotswood Primary School has been awarded $1.4 million in the 2017/18 Budget for vital repairs and upgrades of school facilities. The Andrews Government is delivering the quality classrooms our kids deserve. It’s all part of the plan to make Victoria the Education State.

Investing in Local Schools

The Andrews Government understands the importance of education and maintains a proud record of investing in local schools. Delivering on our election commitment, Williamstown High School received $500,000 towards the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, while Bayside College has received $300,000 to upgrade the technical wing at the Williamstown campus. These investments formed part of the first Andrews budget, and we’ve continued the proud Labor record of supporting our local schools in successive budgets. Newport Lakes Primary School received $3 million in the 2016/17 State Budget to upgrade its ageing facilities, and Spotswood Primary School has been awarded $1.4 million in the 2017/18 Budget for vital repairs and upgrades of school facilities. The Andrews Government is delivering the quality classrooms our kids deserve. It’s all part of the plan to make Victoria the Education State.