McGowan to cancel Roe 8
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The Roe 8 road project will be cancelled if the Labor Party wins the upcoming state election, opposition leader Mark McGowan said today, even though the government has already signed a contract for construction, with $236 million of funding to be re-allocated to three alternative roads.
Mr McGowan called on the state government to halt work on the project, which forms part of the Perth Freight Link, until the election, but said renegotiating the existing contracts could be done without significant cost to the state.
The three alternate projects would include bringing forward the Armadale Road dual carriageway between Anstey Road and Tapper Road, at a price tag of $145 million.
Construction of that upgrade is currently slated to start in mid-2018 Mr McGowan said, while work would begin as soon as possible if Labor won.
A $166 million Armadale Road bridge to link with North Lake Road over the Kwinana Freeway, and two new overpasses on Wanneroo Road – at Ocean Reef Road and Joondalup Drive – costing $95 million would be the other projects.
The state government has estimated the entire Perth Freight Link project would cost around $1.9 billion, a large part of which is federally funded, with the first stage to cost $450 million.
That stage will connect the existing Roe Highway to Stock Road through Beeliar Wetlands, with the builders including Cimic Group subsidiary CPB Contractors, Georgiou Group, WA Limestone, GHD, AECOM and BG&E.
Acting Premier Liza Harvey said the move would cause 3,360 jobs to be lost.
“What Mark McGowan has basically just said is he will throw away $1.2 billion worth of federal government investment, he will sack on March 13 every single person working on Roe 8," Ms Harvey said.
“Every single family that has a job tied to that project needs to know that they will lose that job if Mr Mcgowan gets in.
"Its a good project for Western Australia.
"This has been part of two election campaigns, the state election campaign in 2013, the federal election campaign."
Ms Harvey said the Armadale Road duplication was already planned for later this year.
Mr McGowan said the decision not to proceed with the project was based on credible independent legal advice from the state’s solicitor general.
He said he had written to the head contractor of the project to inform it of Labor’s position.
"The decision means the state will avoid the total cost of Perth Freight Link of up to $3 billion, and redirect the funds to real congestion busting projects in our suburbs,” Mr McGowan said.
"Our decision is ultimately based on the fact that WA cannot afford wasting billions of dollars on a truck highway that will eventually end at a port that is soon to reach capacity.
"This has always been a key point of difference, and now we are giving the people of Western Australia the chance to have their say at the election on whether they support Labor's comprehensive plan or the Liberals' short-sighted road to nowhere.”
According to state government budget documents, about $204 million would have been spent on the project by the end of this financial year.
Greens member of the Legislative Council Lynn MacLaren MLC said it should not have taken a looming election for the ALP to make its position clear.
“I’m pleased the ALP has finally bowed to pressure from the Greens and the community to rule out Roe 8 once and for all,” she said.
“However, it is disappointing it has taken two months and a looming election for the ALP to commit to redirecting the $1.9 billion allocated to the Perth Freight Link.
“The Greens have been saying all along that it was a reckless move from the Barnett government to sign contracts so close to an election."
City of Melville mayor Russel Aubrey said it was extremely disappointing to see that Labor intended to cancel Roe 8.
He said the money would be spent elsewhere in Perth instead of addressing the traffic issues that it would create fin Melville, Cockburn and Fremantle.
“We want to know why the concerns and lifestyles of residents in this part of Perth are not top of the agenda for all political parties given that this region faces the most significant freight and general traffic issues,” said Mayor Aubrey.