Interchange stoush

State Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green has called for the Federal Government to pay for the entirety of the much-needed Watson Street-Hume Freeway interchange in Wallan East.

The interchange has been a point of contention for both Mitchell Shire residents and passing motorists as traffic often banks back onto the Hume Freeway from the Northern Highway exit.

The $46 million project would ease congestion in one of the most rapidly-growing areas of Mitchell Shire.

Ms Green said the Hume Freeway was a road of national importance.

“We’re really trying to put the pressure on the Federal Government now because we’ve done the planning, particularly for the Wallan roads, and now it’s their turn to stump up because we’re spending so much,” she said.

“I’m not enamoured at all by the idea that it’s shared 50-50.

“It’s a road of national importance.

“They haven’t been doing the heavy lifting and now it’s their turn.”

Ms Green said the time it took to get the Federal Government to commit to the O’Herns Road at Epping interchange wasn’t good enough.

“It took five years to try and drag the Federal Government, kicking and screaming, to the table for the interchange at O’Herns Road and we’re only just about to get that. That’s just appalling,” she said.

Ms Green said completion of the interchange would ‘turbocharge’ development in the south of Mitchell Shire.

“Because of the payroll tax cuts for regional Victoria, which includes Wallan and Beveridge, we can turbocharge local jobs creation just by building the projects but it’ll also attract freight, logistics, transport, it’ll turbocharge this local economy and more people will be able to work close to home,” she said.

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said projects such as the Wallan interchange required funding from all levels of government.

“Before the election, we (federal Labor) committed to funding our share of the interchange and the Federal Government refused to match it,” he said.

“That’s why we’ve continued to push for it and getting the much-needed infrastructure around Wallan.

“We know the Federal Government has been absolutely neglecting our area and that’s why we’re seeking to get the federal and state governments together to get these projects done very quickly, but it should not be done at the expense of taking money off the Hume Freeway to fund other projects.”