Fo­rum-go­ers fume over link

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By A STAFF RE­PORTER

OP­PO­SI­TION Fed­eral Par­lia­ment sec­re­tary for WA Alan­nah MacTier­nan claims it took 45 min­utes for the State Gov­ern­ment to ditch a new Kwinana har­bour planned for decades and back the Perth Freight Link (PFL) at a meet­ing with Fed­eral min­is­ters last year.

“They said to Trans­port Min­is­ter Dean Nalder, ‘For­get the outer har­bour, we want to bring Roe 8 out of re­tire­ment and re­badge it as the Perth Rail Link,” Ms MacTier­nan told about 700 peo­ple at a PFL public fo­rum at Fre­man­tle Town Hall last week.

A 16km PFL from Roe High­way to North Fre­man­tle has sparked com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion from Cock­burn to Cottes­loe af­ter Can­berra an­nounced $925 mil­lion for its 13km, $1.6 bil­lion first stage late last year.

The stage cur­rently ends with six lanes 1km south of Stir­ling Bridge but there are no sec­ond stage de­signs over the Swan River into North Fre­man­tle where Fre­man­tle Port Au­thor­ity es­ti­mates put trucks ris­ing from 3000 to 13,000 daily by 2031.

Ms MacTier­nan, who was WA’s in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter cred­ited with the Man­durah rail­way line be­ing close to dead­line and bud­get in 2007 de­spite its 17 per cent cost in­crease, claimed the PFL’s open “al­liance” con­tracts ex­posed the State to cost blowouts.

“I’ve got to say that if my Black­ad­der char­ac­ters were con­sid­er­ing the PFL, even Baldrick could not sug­gest it was a ‘cun­ning plan’,” PFL fo­rum host and au­thor Ben El­ton said, re­fer­ring to the TV com­edy char­ac­ter’s catch­phrase.

A State Lib­eral gov­ern­ment ap­proved Kwinana for a con­tainer port in 1996 and 11 years later a State La­bor gov­ern­ment ap­proved con­cept de­signs, with claimed cost ben­e­fit ra­tios of 8.76, us­ing cur­rent road routes to the Kwinana Free­way and Roe High­way.

PFL op­po­nents want the State Gov­ern­ment to restart the new Kwinana har­bour plan, cap the num­ber of Fre­man­tle Port con­tain­ers and put on more rail, and avoid al­legedly wast­ing a claimed $2.5 bil­lion to get the PFL to North Fre­man­tle.

Melville Mayor Rus­sell Aubrey was a lone voice at the fo­rum sup­port­ing Roe High­way’s ex­ten­sion through wet­lands for the PFL and he asked op­po­nents to con­sider all res­i­dents’ is­sues in­clud­ing a “toxic mix” of cars and trucks trav­el­ling on Leach High­way where 14 traf­fic lights and about 180 drive­ways cre­ated health and safety haz­ards, and trucks us­ing side streets.

The next PFL fo­rum is at Cottes­loe Civic Cen­tre on Septem­ber 1 from 5.30pm.

Melville Mayor Rus­sell Aubrey.

An anti-PFL Alan­nah MacTier­nan.

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