Roe 8: City of Cockburn considering $25k contribution to Save Beeliar Wetlands legal fight against road

Save Beeliar Wetlands convenor Kate Kelly.
Save Beeliar Wetlands convenor Kate Kelly.

THE Save Beeliar Wetlands Group (SWB) could be provided with $25,000 by the City of Cockburn, should its latest appeal against Roe 8 be heard in court.

In a deputation to Cockburn Council last night SBW convenor Kate Kelly – flanked by two supporters – requested funds to assist the group’s bid to halt the first stage of the controversial Roe Highway extension in the High Court.

She said a crowdfunding campaign set up to cover legal costs had helped raise $50,000 in one month.

“This figure is not just fantastic but what it does is show the depth of support and passion in our community about this campaign,” she said.

“However we know we may need to approximately double this amount to confidently meet our costs going forward.”

Ms Kelly said the group had filed an application to appeal the decision in the High Court, and was waiting to hear back about a date for the first hearing.

She did not say how much the group was after, only that it “would be grateful for any assistance towards our legal activities and costs”.

Ms Kelly said it was a “critical time” for the campaign with the State Government signalling it wishes to sign contracts to build Roe 8 in the coming months.

In an item under “new business of an urgent nature introduced by councillors or officers”, Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett recommended the City offer $25,000 “on the condition the group gains leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia”.

Councillor Steve Portelli said he was “dead against (the donation)” because in his opinion the majority of residents in Cockburn were in favour of Roe 8 going ahead.

He said that was backed up during council elections where he stood on a pro-Roe 8 platform and “the majority of residents at each election gave me the highest vote”.

Cr Portelli added the City’s own research in 2014 and 2015 showed Roe 8 would take traffic off local roads and into high activity destinations.

“There are lots of benefits for Roe 8,” he said.

“To say we should be giving ratepayers’ money – $25,000 towards this – I think is completely wrong.

“If people think that strongly about this put it in your own pockets, don’t get it from the ratepayers.”

Cr Stephen Pratt said it was obvious the community supported the fight against Roe 8 and protecting local wetlands, with donations already totalling $50,000 in a month.

“If you want to talk about council elections, I ran on an anti-Roe 8 platform so who knows,” he said.

“Let’s let the legal process decide this and we’re reaching the end game so let’s see what happens.”