Government defends freight link

Mike Nahan (second from left) and Dean Nalder (third from left) at a Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce meeting last week.
Mike Nahan (second from left) and Dean Nalder (third from left) at a Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce meeting last week.

But it does believe both are important pieces of infrastructure for Perth�s future.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said that after more than $20 million worth of planning since 2008, Roe 8 � the first stage of the |$1.6 billion effort to link Roe Highway to Fremantle Port � was good to go.

�We have a design, we have a route, we have EPA approval and now we have Commonwealth contribution to it and we�re getting on with the business,� he said.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk, among others, has called for the freight link to be scrapped and work to begin on the outer harbour.

�I think the better solution is to get on and start planning the outer harbour and to take freight away from communities and into an industrial area. That�s a solution for the 21st century. That�s where we should be putting our infrastructure dollars,� she said.

Mr Nahan said a new harbour could cost between $3-$5 billion.

Transport minister Dean Nalder said there were serious environmental concerns associated with a potential harbour in Cockburn Sound.

�People are thinking the environmental work has been done. I had it confirmed (Tuesday) � with the EPA that it would be a minimum of three years of environmental work that needs to be undertaken,� he said.

�The estimated time I�ve had on construction from my department is it would take six to seven years to construct the outer harbour.

�So we�re talking a minimum of 10 years.�

Mr Nalder said Fremantle Port could accommodate doubling freight movements but the outer �overflow� harbour would be needed.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said a container park at Latitude 32 in Wattleup was a better option than the freight link.

He said he had support from Fremantle and East Fremantle councils.

�The intermodal facility at Latitude 32 is essential and the outer harbour can flow from that,� he said.