The Making and Unmaking of East–West Link

James C Murphy
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The Making and Unmaking of East–West Link

James C Murphy
The definitive account of a hotly debated political project in Melbourne
Melbourne's aborted East-West Link - the massive, multi-billion-dollar inner-city toll road project that promised to knit Melbourne closer together - was stymied from the start. Intense picketing and protests, multiple court challenges, breathless media coverage and bitter politicking consumed the Victorian parliament for some years. The Link brought the downfall of the single-term Baillieu-Napthine Liberal government; its cancellation cost the state half a billion dollars; and it lives on in infamy, a byword in the Australian lexicon for political brinkmanship, waste and politicisation of infrastructure But where did this notorious megaproject come from, and what explains its fate? Was it a project hand-picked by state premiers for party-political reasons and mismanaged by bureaucrats? Was it foisted on the government by cunning roads chiefs, unprepared for the public backlash? Or was it simply that opponents of the project succeeded by turning it into an election issue? In The Making and Unmaking
Melbourne's aborted East-West Link - the massive, multi-billion-dollar inner-city toll road project that promised to knit Melbourne closer together - was stymied from the start. Intense picketing and protests, multiple court challenges, breathless media coverage and bitter politicking consumed the Victorian parliament for some years. The Link brought the downfall of the single-term Baillieu-Napthine Liberal government; its cancellation cost the state half a billion dollars; and it lives on in infamy, a byword in the Australian lexicon for political brinkmanship, waste and politicisation of infrastructure. But where did this notorious megaproject come from, and what explains its fate? Was it a project hand-picked by state premiers for party-political reasons and mismanaged by bureaucrats? Was it foisted on the government by cunning roads chiefs, unprepared for the public backlash? Or was it simply that opponents of the project succeeded by turning it into an election issue? In The Making and Unmaking of East-West Link, James Murphy explores the saga from competing vantage points, detailing the layers of politics that saturate infrastructure policymaking in Australia.

James C Murphy

James C Murphy

James C Murphy lectures in politics and public policy at the University of Melbourne. His writing on Australian politics and history has appeared in The Canberra Times, The Conversation, and regularly in Inside Story.

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