FEDERAL Treasurer Scott Morrison and Liberal candidate for Tangney Ben Morton have reaffirmed their commitment to completing the controversial Perth Freight Link (PFL) Project.
The PFL is currently stalled by a Supreme Court ruling that the project’s environmental approvals were invalid and has emerged as a divisive issue in the Federal election.
Both Labor and the Greens are in favour of scrapping the project, while the Coalition Government is standing by its $1.2 billion funding pledge for the road.
“The first time the Perth Freight Link was assessed by Infrastructure Australia it was named the most important economic infrastructure project in the country,” Mr Morrison said.
“I can’t understand why anyone would want to walk away for a project like that, especially when the Commonwealth Government is putting $1.2 billion into it.”
Mr Morrison also said his comments on the final section of the road tunnelling under the Swan River were “misreported”.
“That is not what I was suggesting – I was talking about the tunnel that is part of the planned works for the last section (from Stock Road to High Street),” he said.
Mr Morton said the PFL would reduce congestion, take thousands of trucks off local roads each day and cut the travel time from Fremantle Port to the freeway by 12 minutes.
He declined to respond to accusations from sitting Member for Tangney Dennis Jensen that the project had been mishandled by the State Liberal Party, of which Mr Morton was director for seven years.
“I’m not going to react to other candidates in the election other than to say the Liberal Party at both State and Federal level is committed to this project,” he said.
“There have been a few hurdles but we are committed to it and will do it – that is very different to Labor, who are against it and won’t.”
Labor candidate for Fremantle Josh Wilson said the PFL was an expensive and damaging toll road to nowhere.
“It doesn’t reach the port and neither the Barnett nor Turnbull governments know where it will go, or how much it will cost, or who will pay the toll, or whether it’s a trench or a tunnel,” he said.
“Our community needs sensible progress towards an Outer Harbour.”