Ap­peal pos­si­ble:Alan­nah

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

FORMER Perth MHR Alan­nah MacTier­nan says there is po­ten­tial for a last-minute State Govern­ment ap­peal against a Fed­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ap­peals Tri­bunal (AAT) de­ci­sion giv­ing her 75 govern­ment doc­u­ments about the $1.9 bil­lion Perth Freight Link.

“Per­haps Premier Colin Barnett will put in an ap­peal think­ing it will give him 12-14 months for him to sign the Link’s con­tracts, but I hope not,” Ms MacTier­nan said af­ter her win last week.

In 2014, she asked for Main Roads WA and Fed­eral Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture (FDoI) com­mu­ni­ca­tion about the pro­posed 12km, truck toll route from Roe High­way to East Fre­man­tle.

Ms MacTier­nan, a former WA plan­ning min­is­ter, con­tends the PFL was Can­berra politi­cians’ “thought bub­ble” to fill WA’s ail­ing bud­get gap and help sell Fre­man­tle Port, but it would halt 30 years of plan­ning for the new Kwinana outer port.

“If we don’t have the right spend­ing now, we won’t be able to do the outer har­bour, and this will af­fect our econ­omy in the fu­ture,” Ms MacTier­nan said.

The govern­ment de­fence of her FOI re­quest in­cluded claims the doc­u­ments’ re­lease would com­pro­mise the Main Roads-FDoI re­la­tion­ship, re­veal in-con­fi­dence in­for­ma­tion and af­fect gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion for fu­ture projects.

Last Tues­day, AAT se­nior mem­ber Chelsea Walsh de­cided the Govern­ment’s con­tention was “too broad”, and de­scrip­tions about what war­ranted them not be­ing made pub­lic were not spe­cific enough to avoid scru­tiny.

“Some of the ‘de­scrip­tions’ are more in­for­ma­tive than oth­ers are, but on the whole, pro­vided lim­ited in­sight into the par­tic­u­lar na­ture of the in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the con­tested doc­u­ments,” Ms Walsh said.

The 75 doc­u­ments in­clude traf­fic and con­ges­tion sur­veys, costs and ex­pected PFL toll in­come.

Ms Walsh al­lowed the traf­fic and con­ges­tion sur­veys to be re­leased be­cause the FDoI had al­ready made a sim­i­lar sur­vey pub­lic.

She said not re­leas­ing PFL cost es­ti­mates would be “mis­guided” be­cause dam­age to FDoI-MR re­la­tion­ship was un­likely when the cost­ing had been done in the ear­li­est stages of the pro­ject, be­fore any de­tailed de­sign plan.

Doc­u­ments that could help res­i­dents’ con­cerns about PFL diesel and par­ti­cle pol­lu­tion were not part of the FOI re­quest.

There is about a month to ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

Fre­man­tle MLA Si­mone McGurk, ALP Bic­ton can­di­date Lisa O’Mal­ley, Alan­nah MacTier­man and Fre­man­tle MHR Josh Wil­son read the SAT de­ci­sion.

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