Forum-goers fume over link
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.