Link soon re­dun­dant, say lo­cals

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

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 long­mooted 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.

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