Perth Freight Link soon redundant, say locals

Perth Freight Link soon redundant, say locals

COTTESLOE residents have been told the proposed $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link (PFL) that may send more trucks through their town would be redundant soon after its proposed 2019 finish.

“The date of completion of the PFL is only 24 months before the Fremantle inner harbour reaches its capacity in 2021,” Cottesloe Residents and Ratepayers Association chair John Hammond said.

A summary of the Federal Government’s PFL business case estimates the port will handle about 1.1 million containers that year.

Last Tuesday, about 270 residents at a Cottesloe Civic Centre PFL meeting were told a 13km toll clearway of up to six lanes was proposed for trucks from Bibra Lake to East Fremantle, contracts were to be signed by December, but it was unknown how to get the PFL a further 3km to the port, costing a mooted $900 million.

Concerns include trucks using Cottesloe to avoid the PFL’s toll, pollution, and pressure to widen Curtin Avenue and Stirling Highway for a long-mooted coastal highway.

Since the mid-1990s, Liberal and Labor State governments have planned trucks using the Latitude 32 transfer yard near a new Kwinana port but the PFL, untested by Infrastructure Australia, was announced after the State Government got $925 million from Canberra last year.

Curtin University sustainability professor Peter Newman said Premier Colin Barnett was PFL opponents’ “only real hope” because State Cabinet was split over the project and Mr Barnett said recently the route may not get built in North Fremantle if there was no “elegant solution”.

The State Opposition has been blamed for the PFL conundrum by removing land for the Fremantle Eastern Bypass for port trucks, but Opposition leader Mark McGowan told the Western Suburbs Weekly the bypass was not needed after Kwinana port tenders started in 2007.

Mr McGowan said a Kwinana port costing a mooted $4 billion and a claimed $2.5 billion bill for a revised Metronet public transport plan could be afforded because they were a “tiny” part of future infrastructure spending.

“I think there’s hasn’t been real effort to work with the Commonwealth on a funding option for rail and a new port in Kwinana, and there should have been far more effort gone to work with the Commonwealth in terms of getting Federal assistance,” he said.

There will be a PFL rally at Stirling Bridge, 10am this Sunday.