While Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was keen on Sunday to mollify a re-elected Coalition federal government, the new detente did not last long. Yesterday morning, the state’s Transport Infrastructure Minister, Jacinta Allan, flatly rejected Scott Morrison’s $4 billion campaign pledge to resurrect the East West Link and refused Josh Frydenberg’s promised $250 million to remove a level crossing at Kooyong. She said the proposals did not stack up.
Considering the lack of consultation with the state before either policy was announced, it is reasonable for Victoria to hold back. But Mr Andrews and Mr Morrison must work hard to find common ground if the needs of an expanding Victorian population are to be met. Victoria is in a vulnerable position. The state budget was delayed when the election was called, and the Andrews government held hopes of getting more money out of a new Shorten government.
Mr Andrews, a man adept at bare-knuckle, win-at-any-cost politics, fought strongly for Bill Shorten, plunging $1 million of taxpayers’ money into an advertising blitz. The Premier and his ministers stalled negotiations with the federal Coalition government in the hope – indeed, confident expectation – a change in government would be to their advantage. But the unexpected failure of Mr Shorten to emulate Mr Andrews’ decisive state victory has proved awkward.
State Treasurer Tim Pallas is in particular difficulty, having to reframe in only a week a budget that can no longer anticipate the $2 billion Mr Shorten would have contributed to the Metro Tunnel, and will be further crimped by the fall in stamp duty revenue.