Mayors debate PFL issue
ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST
MELVILLE Mayor Russell Aubrey emphasised that removing traffic, not freight, from local roads was the major benefit of Roe 8 and 9 during an impassioned defence of the Perth Freight Link project during a panel debate on Friday.
Joining Mr Aubrey at the FutureNet event were fellow mayors Carol Adams (Kwinana) and Brad Pettitt (Fremantle), both of whom remain opposed to the controversial road.
Flying the flag for the PFL, Mr Aubrey said that once complete, Roe 8 would remove 80,000 daily traffic movements from the surrounding road network, of which just 3000 would be trucks.
He argued that while construction of an Outer Harbour may reduce the volume of truck movements through the City of Melville, projected growth in population density meant the PFL would remain a vital infrastructure priority, particularly as it would ease mounting congestion around Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Mr Aubrey maintained his stance that an Outer Harbour in Cockburn Sound would not receive EPA approval and that an expansion and automation of Fremantle Port was the better option.
Dr Pettitt said the City of Fremantle was opposed to expanding the port and viewed the area on the southern side of the harbour – much of which is an extensive car park – as a valuable land parcel begging for development.
He conceded that the Coalition Government’s victory at the Federal Election meant Roe 8 would almost certainly go ahead as planned but said the rest of the nearly $1.9 billion committed to the project would be better spent on public transport.
He also called for a cost-benefit analysis of both the Perth Freight Link and the Outer Harbour and said that if the PFL was found to be the better option he would support the project.
Mrs Adams labelled the PFL “sub-optimal” and said a hostile Senate could still refuse to release funds for Roe 8.
She conceded a fully completed Outer Harbour carried a hefty $6 billion price tag but said it would bring long-term jobs to a Kwinana region that is struggling with high unemployment.
She also said an Outer Harbour capable of accommodating Capesize ships, the largest dry cargo ships in the world, would open WA to new opportunities.
Mayors Carol Adams, Russell Aubrey and Brad Pettitt at the debate last Friday.