The Victorian Labor Party made scores of promises before coming to power in November 2014. Which ones did they keep?
3AW state political reporter Lauren Hilbert told The Newsroom Premier Daniel Andrews wants to stick to every promise he’s made.
“Daniel Andrews made a real point of doing everything he said he would and it’s been his defence for a lot of things,” she said.
But has the Premier stuck to the promises that earned him and his party power? More than 15 months into the Andrews government, The Newsroom examines the election promises deemed to have the largest social and economic impacts.
New public holidays
Victoria now has two new public holidays after Premier Daniel Andrews kept his word on a spectacular promise years before the state election.
The AFL Grand Final Eve and Easter Sunday public holidays were introduced and, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, were expected to cost the economy up to $900 million annually. Although the additional money spent by the public on entertainment and going out could generate $300 million for the Victorian economy.
A government spokesperson said there was corporate opposition to the AFL Grand Final Eve public holiday. “Grand Final Friday was created to allow hard working Victorians to spend more quality time with their family, friends and loved ones,” the spokesperson said. “We acknowledge that some business groups opposed the public holiday, however, there are no trading restrictions placed on the day so it is up to individual business owners and operators whether they choose to open or not.”
Level crossing removals
The Liberal party and the Labor government promised to remove railway level crossings before the election. Works are now under way: one crossing has been removed, nine are under construction and work on the remaining crossings is in the tender and planning phases.
Ms Hilbert said the Liberals were planning to remove quite a few.
“The first four were funded by the coalition. But because Labor already had the 50 level crossings removal plan, they [Labor] kind of stole the plan and all of a sudden level crossing removals were associated with Labor,” said Ms Hilbert.
No cost for dumping the East West Link Project
Before the state election, Premier Daniel Andrews said the contracts for the East West Link (EWL) Project were “not worth the paper” they were written on.
According to the Victorian Auditor-General’s Report on the East West Link Project, $1.1 billion has been “paid” or is “expected to be paid” by the state government. Around $320 million could be refunded by selling properties purchased for the project.
Ms Hilbert said before the election Labor was set on not building it.
“If they had dumped it, it would have been a broken promise within weeks of coming to office, they would have been absolutely crucified,” she said.
Treasurer Tim Pallas told The Newsroom: “Before the election, we promised that a Labor Government would not proceed with the Liberals’ East West Link. This promise has been kept,” said Mr Pallas, “The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with building projects that our State needs and that Victorians voted for.”
Despite this, Premier Daniel Andrews statement that the contracts were “not worth the paper” they were written on was found to be false. Premier Daniel Andrews added there would be “some modest compensation” and the state government has so far paid out $339m, which he has denied is compensation.
Metro Rail Tunnel Project
Another promise was the Metro Rail Tunnel, a project originally envisioned by the Baillieu government.
At an estimated cost of $10.9 billion, the Metro Rail Tunnel Project is currently in the planning and development stage, according to Melbourne Metro Rail.
The Melbourne Metro Business Case claims the tunnel has a cost-benefit ratio of $1.10 to every dollar spent and $1.50 to $3.30 for every dollar after wider economic benefits (which can include the benefits of increased productivity from savings in travel time) are considered.
The project envisions five underground train stations and twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels.
The state government is now waiting for the federal government to decide if they will match $4.5 billion already committed by the state, for the project. The remainder is expected to come from the private sector.
Royal Commission into Family Violence
Premier Daniel Andrews delivered on a promise he would create a Royal Commission into family violence. He said it would be completed by the end of 2015, but the report date was set for February 29, 2016. The date has now been amended to March 29, 2016.
Premier Andrews said in a press release the Royal Commission requested the one-month extension: “We owe it to victims of family violence and Victoria to get this right.”
Back to Work Act
The state government promised to help employers financially if they hired workers who fell into these categories: unemployed youth, retrenched workers, refugees and more.
The state budgeted $100 million for the Back to Work Act, as some payouts to employers can be up to $16,000.
After November 1 last year, the payments expanded to include a larger range of beneficiaries and higher payments. Employers can now make a claim if they hire disabled pensioners, apprentices, trainees or refugees. – Matthew Male
East West Link photo from Capella Capital. Top photo from Premier Daniel Andrews’ Facebook page.