Mar 19, 2017

Coalition must listen to voters on Perth Freight Link

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must accept Western Australia’s clear rejection of his flawed Perth Freight Link toll road and instead invest in public transport in Perth.

During the recent WA election campaign, Labor Leader Mark McGowan promised to scrap the Perth Freight Link – a badly designed toll road proposed by the Federal Government – and instead invest in public transport via the METRONET rail project.

Following Mr McGowan’s landslide victory, Mr Turnbull must accept the will of the people and support public transport.

The Perth Freight Link was always a dud.

The Federal Coalition proposed the road out of the blue in its 2014 Budget without any supportive research or planning.

Although it was promoted as an effective way to take trucks to the Port of Fremantle, planning has been so inadequate that on its current design, the road would stop 3km short of the port.

At the height of the WA campaign, Mr Turnbull insisted Commonwealth funding was available only for the Perth Freight Link and was not transferable.

But the election is over. It is time to put aside the politics and act in the public interest.

The last thing West Australians need is to be punished for having elected a Labor Government, as happened in Victoria after the incoming Andrews Government cancelled the East-West Link toll road in 2014.

Mr Turnbull’s petulant refusal to transfer East-West Link funding to the Melbourne Metro rail project means Victoria is now receiving 7.7 per cent of Commonwealth infrastructure investment despite being home to a quarter of Australians.