WA Govt Under Fire over Perth Freight Link

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
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Pressure is mounting on the West Australian government to ditch its contentious Perth Freight Link project, which would be the state’s first toll road and cut through wetlands.

State environment approval was granted last week for a key component of the $1.6 billion project, the Roe Highway extension or “Roe 8”, which will cut a swathe through a habitat for Carnaby’s black cockatoos and connect the highway to Fremantle Port.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder came under fire after residents in Palmyra were warned their homes could be resumed to make way for the road, but he said that could be averted if a tunnel was dug.

A group of Hamilton Hill residents protested against the tunnel alternative on Sunday, concerned about the structural integrity of the houses above and fume ventilation.

And on Monday, Greens senator Scott Ludlam said 22 community groups were united in stopping the project, which could be “a career-ending move” for Premier Colin Barnett.

The “deeply unpopular” East West Link freeway project led to a change of Victoria’s government, Senator Ludlam said.

“Premier Barnett needs to rethink the link,” he told reporters.

“That’s the voice that’s coming from the community loud and clear.”

Mr Barnett clouded the controversy at the weekend by saying the project should be done in two parts, “whatever the future of the port may be”.

Member for Perth Alannah MacTiernan pounced on the comments.

“Procurement 101 says that the key to containing costs and delays is having the project properly scoped at the outset,” she said.

“Without any idea of the design of the interchange … the contract will have to build in huge uncertainty on price.”

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