Senate inquiry into Link
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.