Woman arrested as Roe 8 protestors converge on North Lake Road

Police line North Lake Road. Photo: Bryce Luff
A police officer helps kids cross a busy North Lake Road this morning. Photo: Bryce Luff
L-R: Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris, East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett meet with anti Roe 8 activists at a community breakfast in Coolbellup. Photo: Bryce Luff
Police politely refuse an offer of a free breakfast cooked up at a community breakfast this morning. Photo: Bryce Luff
Ground-testing machinery is brought into a site just off North Lake Road. Photo: Bryce Luff
Police keep watch over an exclusion zone where contractors are undertaking preliminary tests for Roe 8. Photo: Bryce Luff
Police line North Lake Road. Photo: Bryce Luff A police officer helps kids cross a busy North Lake Road this morning. Photo: Bryce Luff L-R: Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris, East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett meet with anti Roe 8 activists at a community breakfast in Coolbellup. Photo: Bryce Luff Police politely refuse an offer of a free breakfast cooked up at a community breakfast this morning. Photo: Bryce Luff Ground-testing machinery is brought into a site just off North Lake Road. Photo: Bryce Luff Police keep watch over an exclusion zone where contractors are undertaking preliminary tests for Roe 8. Photo: Bryce Luff

A WOMAN has been arrested and charged as preliminary work on Roe 8 shifted back to North Lake road this morning.

Police said the adult female was arrested and charged with damage, while another activist was issued with a move-on notice.

It went against a call from Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett just a few hours earlier for protestors to remain on the right side of the law.

“It’s about our own personal safety in any of these situations,” he said.

“It’s about protecting mates and ensuring peaceful protests are entered into.

“We don’t want people exposing themselves to injury. That’s very important.”

Protestors converged on North Lake Road, about 600m north of Gwilliam Drive, about 8.30am following news of large police numbers in the area.

About 15 police vehicles lined the road, with officers keeping watch over an exclusion zone used by contractors conducting tests at the site.

Police had to usher one man out of the way after he tried to block a truck carrying ground-testing machinery.

Save Beeliar Wetlands co-ordinator Kate Kelly was dismayed work was continuing on the $450m road despite a special leave hearing scheduled for Friday in the High Court.

“It’s just provocative and quite aggressive in its nature,” she said.

“We just call on the decision makers to please put a hold on things while not only the court matters can be sorted out but we’re picking up quite a bit of environmental breaches in terms of fauna management and other concerns we want to be able to talk to project coordinators and contractors about.

“They’re just not listening.”

Earlier in the morning, more than 100 people packed a Coolbellup park for a community breakfast.

Among those in attendance were Mr Howlett, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill and Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris.

Mr Howlett again pointed to development of an outer harbour at Kwinana as the option the State Government should be looking at.

“An increasing number of local governments, community groups and other organisations have come together because we realise the potential going forward of re-defining freight movement in the Perth metropolitan area, particularly south of the river, and the greater opportunities that exist at an outer harbour in Kwinana,” he said.

He said an efficient port would help WA remain competitive.

“We’re not only competing in WA, but we’ve got new outer harbours in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and they’re all anxious to grab a piece of trade,” he said.

Dr Pettitt said the coming together of council leaders showed the strength of opposition to the project.

“We’re absolutely united that this road shouldn’t go ahead and if it does then there will be impacts not just for Cockburn but for the whole region we represent,” he said.

“(Fremantle is) really concerned because while (Roe 8) isn’t specifically in our area there are obvious impacts to us if it goes ahead.

“It will lead to the rest of the freight link (stage 9) which goes through a range of Fremantle suburbs and dumps tens of thousands of trucks at our doorstep with no way of getting across the Swan River.”

“Our view is that it should be stopped at the point. (The State Government) needs to go back to the drawing board and actually look at how freight moves around this area and make sure there’s a stronger focus on the outer harbour.”

Dr Pettitt said City would consider supporting the Save Beeliar Wetlands with financial support if the special leave hearing progresses to a full hearing in the High Court.

“I couldn’t tell you (how much) but we’ve had those discussions and it’s something we would discuss with Cockburn and other councils because we think this is a step in the right direction.

“It’s something I know the majority of Fremantle ratepayers would support.”

Mr O’Neill said uncertainty around the final stage of the Perth Freight Link – getting trucks across the Swan River and into the port – was a major cause of concern.

“We do not want to see a bottleneck of trucks banking up at Stirling bridge causing mayhem, nor do we want a huge spaghetti junction in our town,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said the Town of East Fremantle had contributed $5000 to stopping the project, and would consider further funding.

Mr Norris said he ventured south this morning to ensure the western suburbs were represented.

“At the present time, the western suburbs aren’t adversely affected by what’s proposed but if it does proceed we will be,” he said.

“It simply defies logic that this project would proceed all the way to Stirling Bridge and stop, and go no where.

“If it were to proceed across Stirling Bridge, North Fremantle would be decimated – blown apart.”

Mr Norris said funding to support the protest would likely be considered at the “appropriate time”.(L-R) Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris, East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett meet with anti Roe 8 activists at a community breakfast in Coolbellup.