Planning approval for Melbourne's West Gate Tunnel toll road has been revoked in state parliament and work on the project has stopped.
The opposition, Greens and Australian Conservative MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins joined forces in the Legislative Council on Wednesday afternoon, voting for the revocation.
“What we saw today was very much an act of economic vandalism in the upper house,” Roads Minister Luke Donnellan told reporters.
The planning scheme will be re-gazetted on Thursday before returning to parliament where it could also be overturned.
“We could just repeat this process, let’s see what happens,” Mr Donnellan said.
“I want to see whether we have an opposition leader which will actually lead his party and not let David Davis (who moved the upper house revocation motion) get up to two-bob stunts.”
Work has already started on the $6.7 billion road, to be built with toll road giant Transurban, but the 800 workers will have to down tools.
The opposition maintain it is a “dud deal” for motorists because the government wants to extend Transurban’s toll concession deed on Melbourne’s CityLink road in order to cover construction costs.
“It’s a very bad project, it’s a project that will smash families and commuters for decades to come,” Mr Davis told reporters after the vote.
The Liberals demanded the government go back and create a road with a funding model that would not rely on motorists paying tolls at increasing rates for a road they may never use.
The Greens Sam Hibbins said the project threatened Melbourne’s livability.
“It would be an absolute pure arrogance and affront to democracy if they continued on with this project with planning approval now revoked,” he told reporters.
But business groups and the freight and logistics industry slammed the revocation.
“The Victorian Chamber (of Commerce and Industry) has been a staunch supporter of the project as it is a vital link to national and international markets for businesses and producers in the west,” chief executive Mark Stone said.
His disappointment was echoed by Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson.
“It’s a sad day for Victorians that parliamentarians have used a political process to overturn a planning decision that would finally have led to a much-needed second Yarra River crossing.”