Jul 18

Victoria state election: Napthine talks up East West road link

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It was a pity for Premier Denis Napthine that the traffic flowed freely down the Eastern Freeway.

Dr Napthine spent Monday afternoon campaigning at a family-owned garden supplies business in Ringwood East, where he spruiked his “congestion-busting” East West Link.

But reporters arrived at Daisy’s Garden Supplies early, thanks to the quiet roads ahead of the Melbourne Cup public holiday.

Wearing a hi-vis vest, a grinning Dr Napthine climbed into a large yellow truck and beeped the horn. He was in his element, mingling with voters and hamming it up for the TV camera crews. Huge mounds of mulch, pebbles and pavers surrounded him, and the stench of blood and bone was overwhelming.

Only hours earlier the Premier had visited the manicured grounds of Government House to deliver the writs for this months’s state election.

Dusty trucks circled Dr Napthine as he spoke about how the East West Link would benefit the 35-year-old business by saving it time, improving its productivity and customer service.

“If you are in a truck and you are moving soil, you are moving garden supplies, the last thing you want to be doing is stuck at lights, stuck in congestion, and East West Link stage one will save 30 minutes for every trip on these trucks as they go from the end of the Eastern Freeway through to City Link and Tullamarine.”

A rosy-cheeked woman who had been at the nearby Daisy’s Hotel spotted the Premier and made a beeline for him.

She handed Dr Napthine a TAB betting slip and asked for his signature. “You’re better looking in real life,” she declared.

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