Se­nate in­quiry into Link

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

A SE­NATE in­quiry will in­ves­ti­gate how it was de­cided to build the con­tro­ver­sial $1.6 bil­lion first stage of the Perth Freight Link.

“Hope­fully the in­quiry will pro­duce the busi­ness case for the PFL,” Cottes­loe Ratepay­ers and Res­i­dents as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Ham­mond said.

The anti-PFL as­so­ci­a­tion is con­cerned trucks will avoid the PFL’s toll by go­ing through the western sub­urbs, and its is among com­mu­nity groups op­pos­ing the State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments’ pro­ject from Roe High­way to Fre­man­tle Port that will make sub­mis­sions to the in­quiry.

In the Se­nate last Thurs­day, Fre­man­tle-based WA Greens Sen­a­tor Scott Lud­lam had Op­po­si­tion and eight cross-bench Sen­a­tors’ sup­port in a 37-27 vote back­ing an in­quiry that may have Perth hear­ings in late Septem­ber or early Oc­to­ber and a re­port pre­sented by Novem­ber.

The in­quiry will in­ves­ti­gate al­leged lack of trans­parency about the PFL’s fund­ing, in par­tic­u­lar how it was de­cided that WA Trans­port Min­is­ter Dean Nalder got $950 mil­lion in Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment funds for the pro­ject last year.

“What­ever your views whether this pro­ject is good or not, the public is owed an ex­pla­na­tion as to how an open-ended fund­ing com­mit­ment of up to $2.5 bil­lion was made in the ab­sence of ba­sic in­for­ma­tion,” Sen Lud­lam said.

The in­quiry may in­vite Mr Nalder and Main Roads WA to its hear­ings, but the Se­nate does not have the power to or­der State MPs to ap­pear.

Mr Nalder said the ex­ten­sion of the Roe High­way was “cru­cial to im­prove safety and re­move heavy ve­hi­cles from lo­cal roads”.

Premier Colin Bar­nett has been in­vited to PFL public meet­ings at the North Fre­man­tle Com­mu­nity Hall on Au­gust 25 from 7pm and Cottes­loe Civic Cen­tre from 5.30pm on Septem­ber 1.

North Fre­man­tle res­i­dents Roslyn Dray­ton and Jane Page pro­moted their sub­urb’s PFL meet­ing last week.

“While busi­nesses here like the traf­fic com­ing through Queen Vic­to­ria Street, any PFL would block it off, and will make us less at­trac­tive to visi­tors if Ty­de­man Road is en­larged,” Ms Dray­ton said.

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