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Victorian state government now needs a negotiating strategy

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The federal election is over. It’s now time for Victoria to negotiate with the Commonwealth government over some key infrastructure projects made possible by recent campaign commitments.

Bella, one of the 4000-tonne boring machines that will create the West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne, is dissembled at a factory in China so it could be shipped to Australia.Credit:West Gate Tunnel Project

Despite competing state and federal mandates over aspects of these projects, there is a way to achieve genuine progress that the public will welcome as vital infrastructure and not punish as broken commitments.

Big ideas require mature thinking. That is, thinking that surpasses all the pride, pettiness and brinkmanship that can so often hamper effective government.

Right now, the Victorian government has a couple of problems that other governments would fall over themselves trying to court. The federal government has offered $4 billion for the East West Link, made shortly before last week’s election, and committed $260 million for the removal of the Glenferrie Road Kooyong level crossing with business cases for nearby level crossings on Tooronga Road, Hawthorn and Madden Grove, Burnley. They’re all golden opportunities to address congestion and, if pursued wisely, secure added public transport capacity across our transport system.

The state government’s position on the East West Link is well known. It’s completely opposed to the project, a policy it has taken to two elections. Whatever one might say about the government’s actions in 2015 when it........

© The Age