PM commits to freight link. Protesters want outer harbour development

THE Federal Government remains committed to funding its portion of the cost for the $1.65 billion Perth Freight Link (PFL) but protesters continue to call for the development of an outer harbour in Cockburn Sound.

The PFL will extend Roe Highway from the Kwinana Freeway to Fremantle Port. The Federal Government has offered $925m towards the road.

In Perth last week, PM Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio that despite some issues, the Federal Government remained supportive of the road.

“The Federal Government’s commitment is unchanged,” he said. “Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher has approved $317 million in Federal money to be released towards the full $541 million funding required for sections one and three of the project.”

Contracts for section one, a 5km extension from Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road known as Roe 8, are close to being signed and work should begin early next year.

But the route for Roe 9, which will link Stock Road to Stirling Bridge, could be a year from being decided.

Mr Turnbull favours the construction of a tunnel rather than an aboveground road for Roe 9 and has offered additional funding towards the $262 million an underground route is expected to cost.

City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the Federal Government’s stance was consistent with the City’s desire for the Melville Bypass to be completed at the earliest possible occasion.

“We applaud Mathias Cormann, the Federal Minister for Finance, and Dean Nalder, the Minister for Transport, for their efforts to relieve growing congestion and improve road safety in the south west metro region, while increasing property values and avoiding significant environmental damage that would be caused by the construction of the outer harbour in Cockburn Sound,” he said. “We eagerly await the final approvals so we can see the completion of this much needed major infrastructure: a ring road for Perth.”

Rethink Perth Freight Link co-convenor Kim Dravnieks said the current economic climate meant now was not the time to be building the PFL.

“The Premier wants to build the most expensive aboveground road in Australian history at a time when the State budget is the worst we have seen in years,” she said. “This government has no financial nous and this project should be the first to be dumped to save the state some precious money for the mid-year budget review.”