KWINANA Mayor Carol Adams has called for funds earmarked for Roe 8 to be diverted to build a new port if Labor wins the State Election in March.
Her call follows an announcement by opposition leader and Rockingham MLA Mark McGowan on Wednesday that Labor would abandon Roe 8 if it was elected.
“Roe 8 and Perth Freight Link are dud projects, they don’t make planning, economic or environmental sense and it simply doesn’t solve the long term congestion issues in our suburbs,” Mr McGowan said.
“The Perth Freight Link project is a confused mess, it doesn’t reach the Fremantle Port and there is still huge uncertainty over what route stage two will end up taking.
“WA Labor’s decision not to proceed with the project has been carefully thought through and is based on credible independent legal advice.
“The decision means the State will avoid the total cost of Perth Freight Link of up to $3billion, and redirect the funds to real congestion busting projects in our suburbs.”
A McGowan Labor Government would renegotiate the recently signed Roe 8 contract and allocate the remaining funds for Perth Freight Link to other worthy job creating projects.
“The legal advice indicated that renegotiating the Roe 8 contract following the March election would only have a modest cost on the State,” Mr McGowan said.
He also said Labor would immediately start work on planning a new port at Kwinana to complement Fremantle Port, which is nearing capacity.
Cr Adams pointed to a new outer harbour in Kwinana as the key driver of economic growth for the next 100 years and something the City of Kwinana had been advocating to “all levels of government and all political parties”.
“It makes sound economic sense to divert resources from the Perth Freight Link to building a new port which will support Perth’s freight needs for many decades to come,” Cr Adams said.
“There has never been a more crucial opportunity for detailed planning supported by a strong business case to start on the Outer Harbour.
“The project would translate into billions of dollars in revenue for Western Australia and tens of thousands of new 21st century job opportunities.”
Last May a Federal Senate Inquiry unanimously recommended the Federal Government reallocate funding from the Perth Freight Link, of which Roe 8 is part one, to the outer harbour.
But Transport Minister Bill Marmion said Labor would be putting at risk $1.1 billion in Federal funding and axing 3360 jobs related to the Perth Freight Link if it dumped Roe 8.
“Ripping up the contract will immediately cost WA taxpayers up to $40 million,” Mr Marmion said.
“Roe 8 is not only important for WA’s economic development, it will improve congestion and road safety in the area, redistributing 6900 trucks and 74,000 light vehicles from existing roads.
Mr Marmion said the State Government would spend $45 million on environmental management plans for Roe 8, including improved public access to the Beeliar wetlands.