Feb 15, 2017

Prime Minister clueless on Perth Freight Link

Malcolm Turnbull has exposed his gross ignorance of Perth and Western Australia by revealing he is unaware that his proposed Perth Freight Link toll road will not deliver on its stated aim of taking traffic to the Port of Fremantle.

The Coalition Federal Government is contributing $1.2 billion toward the project, which it announced in 2014 as “a high standard freight connection to the Port of Fremantle’’.

However, on current plans, the road stops 3km short of the port.

In answer to a question about the problem today, Mr Turnbull first tried to flick-pass the matter to Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester, who did not know.

Then, in answer to a subsequent question, Mr Turnbull said Perth needed to “get the exports to the market and to the port’’ and that “the Perth Freight Link is doing that.’’

Mr Turnbull is just plain wrong. He needs to get across the facts.

If he ever goes to Perth he could look for himself.

When Commonwealth funding was first committed in 2014 without a cost-benefit analysis, not even the WA Liberal Government was able to release specific plans.

Because of this inadequate planning, the project has been in disarray ever since.

That’s why WA Labor has promised to dump the Perth Freight Link and transfer the funding to the Perth METRONET public transport project to relieve traffic congestion and boost productivity.

However, Mr Turnbull is now holding the people of WA hostage by insisting the money can only be used for the Perth Freight Link.

It is time Mr Turnbull stopped wasting money on the project, which would damage the environmentally sensitive Beeliar Wetlands.

With the Port of Femantle nearing capacity, it would make more sense to abandon the project and instead focus on developing the Outer Harbour.

Mr Turnbull should get behind METROLINK, which would deliver the productivity gains Perth needs to underpin future economic and jobs growth, while also providing much needed relief for Perth commuters.