SEITA is the acronym for the Victorian Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority which was formed by the Victorian Government to manage private public partnerships to build ... um... not free ways, but tollways. The Frankston bypass is part of the EastLink tollway.
According to information on the SEITA Eastlink site, the project route appeared in Melways street maps forty years ago.
(Photo by Narelle Smith)
Predictably, over this period wildlife habitat and populations have been severely impacted. Despite this the Victorian Government and SEITA seem to have failed to seriously consider several other routes, but are persevering in plans to bisect the Mornington Peninsula Biosphere and other crucial habitat for wildlife, according to Gillian Collins of the Pines Flora and Fauna Protection Group and Maryland Wilson of the AWPC.
Their preferred route begins with a major cut through The Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve which provides sanctuary vital to the AWPC and Coalition for Wildife proposed wildife corridor leading to and from the Peninsula Biosphere. For this the Victorian Government, SEITA and Eastlink, have been accused of failing to plan adequately to avoid significant impact on natural habitat and wildlife.
The paradigm of tollways has also been criticised as outmoded and economically unsound because it relies on road-transport and collecting tolls in an economy where many believe that all bets on road-traffic projections should be off because of looming oil and fossil fuel depletion. The motorway will collect tolls using ConnectEast tolling products. www.eastlink.com.au
EastLink decribes itself as "the largest urban road project ever constructed in the State of Victoria with a construction cost of $2.5 billion." It hopes to be "Victoria's second fully-electronic tollway" It will link "the Eastern Freeway in Mitcham with the Frankston Freeway in Melbourne's south-east" in a 39 km motorway.
Eastlink say that they are "one of the largest Public Private Partnerships ever undertaken in Australia." They hope to open on Sunday 29 June 2008.
The Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority (SEITA) was established in 2003 to manage the EastLink Project on behalf of the Victorian Government.
SEITA managed the selection of the private sector bids and now oversees the State's ongoing interest in this landmark Project.
In October 2004, ConnectEast was awarded the contract to fund, design, build, own and operate EastLink for a period of 39 years. ConnectEast was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in November 2004.
Thiess John Holland
ConnectEast contracted Thiess John Holland to design and construct EastLink. Thiess John Holland is a joint venture between two of Australia's largest construction and engineering companies - Thiess and John Holland.
An advisory council was also set up with John Nicol, as 'Independent Chair', Janet Holmes à Court, Deputy Chairman; and Frank Corr, Northern Community Representative; Norman Galbraith, Central Community Representative; Geoff Griffiths, Southern Community Representative; Cr Mick Morland, Casey City Council; Mr Tim Tamlin, City of Greater Dandenong; Cr Colin Hampton, Frankston City Council; Mr Ian Bell, Knox City Council; Ms Lydia Wilson, Manningham City Council; * Cr Tony Dib, Maroondah City Council; Cr Craig Shiell, Monash City Council; Cr Tim Rogers, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council; Cr Chris Aubrey, Whitehorse City Council.
John Nicol, the Chair of the advisory council, is a city engineer with Werribee City, and was recently awarded the Order of Australia medal. John Pallas, Minister for Roads and Ports, commended his understanding of 'building a winning image', his ability and character in the following speech, recorded on Victorian Hansard.