Victoria’s politicians will head back to parliament for 2018 with an election looming.Victoria’s crackdown on crime and road-building revolution are set to continue as state parliament returns for 2018.
Two mass-casualty car attacks, a spate of car-jackings, home invasions and street riots involving youth gangs – some of African appearance – have made crime a hot-button issue in the past 13 months.
The Labor government will continue to push through bail reforms more than a year after the devastating Bourke Street Mall rampage which left six people dead.
The first tranche of the laws will come into effect on July 1 after passing parliament in 2017, while the second instalment is due to be debated this week after parliament resumes sitting for 2018 on Tuesday, Attorney-General Martin Pakula said.
There are on-going funding concerns over construction of the West Gate Tunnel and the coalition opposition promises to resurrect the East-West Link road, if elected in November.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says it’s time to ease the city’s “congestion calamity” and build the tunnel, which will connect CityLink with the Eastern freeway.
But builders have already started clearing a site for the West Gate Tunnel, with boring machines to begin digging from early 2019 and construction to be largely funded by toll giant Transurban.
Neither the tunnel plans, nor a concession deed to extend Transurban’s tolling of CityLink to help fund it, have passed parliament.
But that hasn’t bothered Premier Daniel Andrews, who says there is no need for legislation to pass until the road is finished in 2022.
However, the Greens have promised to side with the coalition to block changes to the planning rules that would enable the new toll road.
Plans to demolish part of Melbourne’s Federation Square to build an Apple store have also been met with opposition from the Greens party which has vowed to block the contentious move.
It comes nine months out from a state election, with the Labor government having to fend off growing Greens support in traditional inner-city strongholds.
The government suffered a stunning loss in the Northcote by-election after Greens candidate Lidia Thorpe won 45 per cent of the vote, a swing of 11 per cent.