NEW WA premier Mark McGowan has warned Roe 8 contractors that his government will not back down on plans to stop the controversial highway extension project.
“I would ask contractors to mitigate any losses, we are not going to proceed with the road,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“When we’re sworn-in we’ll confirm the decision not to proceed with Roe 8,” said on 6PR.
“I’m happy to go and speak to workers”.
He said there had been a significant swing to Labor in the electorates around Roe 8, which was one of the key points of differences between Labor and the Liberals during the election campaign.
The 5km route is part of the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link that the Barnett government said would provide a better road between industrial areas and Fremantle Port.
Opponents argued it was destroying the unique Beeliar Wetlands,
Labor says cancelling the contracts, which won’t happen till after his government is sworn in, may cost up to $30 million.
“If that’s the price of doing this, I know it’s a lot of money but the people voted on what they wanted and we want to make sure we follow through with our mandate,” Mr McGowan said.
When asked on 6PR if the cost of ripping up Roe 8 contracts could be as high as $158 million, Mr McGowan said he’d be meeting Treasury officials later on Monday.
He would then get more details about the state of WA’s books and contracts, including the Freight Link project.
“We’ll see what treasury has to say but we will make sure the taxpayers will be protected.”
The bulk of the funding for the Freight Link project is coming from the federal government.
Mr McGowan wants that money redirected to his Metronet rail plan and expects Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to call him about it.
“I’ll make it very clear what our priorities are.”
The McGowan government is expected to be sworn in by Friday or early next week.