Roe 8 opponents fail to secure Federal Court injunction

Roe 8 opponents fail to secure Federal Court injunction

OPPONENTS of Roe 8 have failed to secure a Federal Court injunction to halt work on the future toll road linking Roe Highway to Stock Road.

Lawyers for Save Beeliar Wetlands argued at a hearing on Friday that environment offsets provided for the $450m project did not meet conditions set out by the Federal Government.

The group, concerned offset Carnaby’s black cockatoo habitat was inadequate, aimed to secure an injunction to prevent further clearing until the issue was sorted.

But that was knocked back this morning, with State Environment Minister Albert Jacob saying work would recommence shortly.

Under conditions placed on it by the Federal Government, Main Roads WA must purchase 523 hectares to offset the loss of 78 hectares of black cockatoo habitat that will be cleared for Roe 8.

Some 97.8 hectares will be cleared in total.

Mr Jacob said the State Government was providing 624ha of offset land for black cockatoos at two sites south of Mandurah.

But Save Beeliar Wetlands convenor Kate Kelly was adamant the State Government had failed to comply with environmental conditions placed on the project.

“The (offset) land near Lake Clifton is so degraded that it does not even get close to the amount of Carnaby’s cockatoo habitat required to offset the clearing in the Beeliar Wetlands,” she said.

“In fact, we believe there is less than a tenth of the type of habitat that is supposed to have been protected according to the Federal Minister’s condition.”

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said today’s decision highlighted the inadequacy of the offset system.

“While the areas purchased appear to have some environmental value, they are a long way from the city which is a factor from the point of view of both the humans and the wildlife that currently benefit from using the Beeliar Wetlands,” she said.

“It is precisely in our cities that we should be protecting rare areas of thriving bushland and wetlands.

“I am also extremely concerned to see that both of the offset areas are covered by a petroleum exploration lease which Empire Oil and Gas and Pilot Energy say they plan to drill in within the next two years.”

WA Labor last week pledged to end the Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link in its entirety if it wins power at the March state election.

Labor leader Mark McGowan said funding allocated to the $1.7b PFL would be freed up for other “congestion busting” projects.

Among those are the $166m Armadale Road Bridge flyover to link Armadale Road with North Lake Road, a $95m spend for two new overpasses on Wanneroo Road and plans to bring forward funding to widen Armadale Road between Anstey Road and Tapper Road.

Contracts for Roe 8 – stage one of the PFL – were signed late last year.

Work began in December.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Bill Marmion said the Opposition would put at risk $1.1b in Federal funding and more than 3300 jobs by scrapping the PFL.

“Ripping up the contract will immediately cost WA taxpayers up to $40m,” the spokesman said.

“Roe 8 is not only important for WA’s economic development, but will improve congestion and road safety in the area.”