A delay on Roe 9 likely

A Rethink Perth Freight Link supporter rallies against the project last week. Picture Bryce Luff
A Rethink Perth Freight Link supporter rallies against the project last week. Picture Bryce Luff

A DECISION on the route for the second stage of the Perth Freight Link (PFL) could be 12 months away.

Over the weekend, Premier Colin Barnett said three projects would take priority over the Roe 9 extension.

They were the Roe 8 extension, the rail line between the airport and Forrestfield and the Swan Valley Bypass.

Roe 8 will extend Roe Highway to Stock Road and Roe 9 would take it through to Stirling Bridge.

A decision on Roe 9 had been expected within months, but that now looks unlikely.

“We might see where we’re at in 12 month’s time but for the moment all of our effort is on Roe 8, the rail line to the airport and Forrestfield and the Swan Valley Bypass,” Mr Barnett said.

“They are the highest priorities.

“They’re the ones that will all start next year.”

Mr Barnett said he was not concerned about the possibility of losing Commonwealth funding should there be delays or cuts to the $1.65 billion project.

“We don’t make decisions on the basis of Commonwealth funding,” he said.

“We make decisions on what are good investments in both public transport and road transport for Western Australia and the decisions will be made by the WA Government.”

Rethink Perth Freight Link (RPFL) co-convenor Kate Kelly said the delay put a question mark on the whole project.

“Roe 8 is the Perth Freight Link by stealth,” she said.

“If Roe 8 is built it will almost make the rest of the PFL inevitable.

“Now is the time to shelve it and redirect the money into public transport and an outer harbour.”

An outer harbour at Cockburn Sound was something Mr Barnett flagged over the weekend, saying the Government has “one eye firmly on the construction” of it.

That project will take a decade to complete and environmental obstacles need to be overcome.

Ms Kelly welcomed the news, with RPFL having argued the case for a new port for some time.

“It’s universally accepted we will need to build an outer harbour,” she said.

“It’s a case of when not if.”