Melville mayor takes shot at Federal Labor over Perth Freight Link stance

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

MELVILLE Mayor Russell Aubrey claims supporters of the Outer Harbour in Kwinana have been “conned, hoodwinked and robbed” by a Federal Labor Party he believes has no intention of building the port.

Mayor Aubrey’s comments come in the wake of Labor spokesperson for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese’s $2 million commitment to take plans for the Outer Harbour to Infrastructure Australia.

“The Outer Harbour is pie in the sky, fraught with environmental risk and will only remove 3 per cent of the overall traffic congestion (that the Perth Freight Link would relieve),” he said.

“Albanese’s ‘commitment’ to investigate the outer harbour is a slap in the face for those expecting the new harbour to ever be built.

“It cost $22 million to complete the Roe 8 assessment alone, so it’s easy to see that the views expressed by the Environmental Protection Agency 12 years ago are going to be upheld and the Outer Harbour will never be built.”

Mayor Aubrey said a failure to complete the Perth Freight Link (PFL), including the proposed tunnel under Palmyra, would inevitably result in a costly resumption of land and demolition of homes and businesses to upgrade the intersection of Stock Road and Leach Highway.

“The long awaited PFL road upgrades are required to move the massive projected increase in traffic across the South-West metropolitan region away from major suburban development,” he said.

“With Labor in charge, the South-West corridor loses $2 billion worth of infrastructure and picks up $2 million worth of study.”

Labor candidate for Fremantle Josh Wilson did not directly address questions about a potential upgrade to the intersection of Stock Road and Leach Highway, but said his party was clear about the need for smart transport planning and infrastructure.

“We have committed funds to address congestion in Cockburn Central and to provide the much-needed High St/Leach Highway intersection upgrade, as well as providing $1 billion for public transport through Metronet,” he said.

“Despite Mayor Aubrey’s ongoing scare campaign, the modelling for the PFL, which locks WA into truck freight through the Inner Harbour, will result in the same truck numbers on Leach Highway within a decade.”

Rethink The Link spokeswoman Ellen McCarthy said there had been bipartisan agreement for more than a decade to build the Outer Harbour, which would relieve freight congestion to Fremantle port.

“In the interim, there are a number of measures that could be taken to alleviate congestion caused by port traffic, most of which is empty running,” she said.

“The City of Cockburn’s figures show that 30 per cent of exports come from the Cockburn and Kwinana industrial areas, therefore the Outer Harbour would remove that traffic from Stock Road and Palmyra.

“The Senate inquiry into the Perth Freight Link further showed that industries in Kwinana were keen for governments to stop procrastinating and get on with building the second port and that the PFL processes are a shambles.”