Revelations spark Roe row

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.
Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.

One of the 25 projects highlighted was the five-kilometre Roe Highway extension between the Kwinana Freeway and Stock Road in Coolbellup.

The State Government moved quickly to introduce legislation to ward off legal challenges brought on by project approvals which may have been unlawful.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan described it as a massive blunder and called for a full independent inquiry, while Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said the contentious extension should be taken off the table all together.

‘Potential conflict of interest amongst board members that signed off on the project is the final piece of the puzzle for those that can clearly see that the project is not environmentally, culturally and socially sustainable,’ Ms MacLaren said.

Save Beeliar Wetlands Campaigners’ Kate Kelly said West Australians would have no confidence in the EPA or the State Government to make the right calls unless the exact nature of the interests are revealed.

‘The Government should now ensure that projects which have not yet started are open to the most rigorous and meticulous environmental assessment,’ she said. ‘Until this is instigated, projects which the Government knew were dubious legally, such as Roe 8, must be halted and the assessments redone.’

The Roe 8 extension is currently being reviewed by the Appeals Convener.

A spokesman for the group said the news would not affect its ongoing review.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob put his support behind the EPA, but wouldn’t comment on Roe 8 while it is still with the Appeals Convener.

He said the State Government was taking immediate action and introducing legislation to address potential risks.

‘Like all 25 projects, there is no suggestion that members of the EPA were actually influenced in their decisions by the fact that they had conflicts,’ he said.

‘There is nothing to indicate the EPA did anything other than assess the environmental factors relating to proposals on their merits.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he was still committed to Roe 8 and the Freight Link.