Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Mickleham Road duplication
Mickleham Road duplication
Evan MULHOLLAND (Northern Metropolitan) (17:47): (45) Tonight I seek the action of the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure for my community in Melbourne’s north. The action I seek is for the minister to investigate the fast-tracking of the Mickleham Road duplication between Greenvale and Craigieburn. Traffic congestion in the city’s north continues to be a big problem for my local residents. As they will tell you, Mickleham Road is a bottleneck, especially when you head north from Somerton Road towards Craigieburn, and with plans for a new housing estate in Craigieburn West the matter is only going to get worse.
So I was glad when the former coalition federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, agreed to fund $109.5 million towards the duplication in last year’s federal budget, and the Victorian government followed up that commitment with $104 million – and credit to Hume City Council for their advocacy for this funding. But locals believe they are being short-changed by the state government to go less than halfway of the stretch to Craigieburn. The Victorian government announced that under stage 1 they will spend over $213 million to duplicate Mickleham Road by only 1.6 kilometres – or only 1 mile in the old language – for over $200 million, from Somerton Road north to Dellamore Boulevard.
Hume City Council reckon they can do the project for much less than that. In fact I met with a delegation from Hume City Council a couple of weeks ago about it, including the mayor Joseph Haweil. They told me that their own engineers had costed it for much less, around $145 million to duplicate Mickleham Road from Somerton Road not only to Craigieburn Road but past it up to Mount Ridley Road, and that a duplication from Somerton Road to Craigieburn Road could be completed within the $213 million envelope.
Local councillor Jim Overend has been hot on this issue, saying the costings make no sense at all. If we were to go by the state government’s estimate, the total cost would be $1.3 billion. The minister has said to the council that their engineers have costed it, but one wonders whether they are different engineers than costed the stage 2 upgrade of 6.6 kilometres of Plenty Road in Mernda just in mid-2021 that cost over $145 million or different engineers from the current Craigieburn Road upgrade which is costing $300 million – yet they cannot do it within the $213 million envelope for 1.6 kilometres. Is this because they have factored in cost overruns? Is this because of deals with perhaps the CFMEU? Curiously, the letter from the minister also touts that the $213 million envelope has now blown out to $222 million. I call on the minister to go back to the drawing board, follow the advocacy of Hume City Council and seek to fast-track this project.