Confidence in Link questioned

“Why are traffic modelling and the impacts of existing alignment on surrounding suburbs considered commercial-in-confidence?” Senator Scott Ludlam asked Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development officers at a Senate Estimates hearing at Parliament House.

“This is information from the states,” the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s Roland Pittar said.

“They’ve undertaken traffic modelling.

“We consult with them over the release of information, and they’ve indicated that that traffic modelling, which goes to the issues of patronage, is commercial in confidence”.

WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle said the answer was “a load of crap, with the greatest respect. What a load of bollocks”.

Sen Ludlam said WA taxpayers were “pissed off” with how commercial in confidence was being used to avoid scrutiny of the proposed 16km PFL from Roe Highway to Fremantle Port.

The Federal Government has allocated $925 million for the Roe Highway-Stock Road first stage only if unknown plans for the second part across the Swan River are done.

At the hearing, commercial-in-confidence was cited for not releasing PFL traffic studies for Cottesloe, the wider western suburbs, North Fremantle and East Fremantle, Stock and High roads, Leach Highway and a business case.

Sen Ludlam said other PFL information that had been withheld by the department citing a claimed affect on tendering for the PFL’s first stage, which was given to a Leighton-led consortium late last year, should also be released.

However, the first stage is now delayed for at least a year because the Supreme Court found its environmental studies were invalid and should be redone.

The State Government appealed the ruling and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s Mark Mrdak said whether the first stage remained valid, and any need for a new tender, depended on working through the court’s decision and the appeal.