02/11/2015 - 09:50

State, Feds at odds over freight link

02/11/2015 - 09:50

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The state government is at odds with the Commonwealth over plans to shelve the second stage of the $1.7 billion Perth Freight Link, with the federal minister for cities saying today the funding agreement was for both stages of the project, not just stage 1.

Premier Colin Barnett with Transport Minister Dean Nalder.

The state government is at odds with the Commonwealth over plans to shelve the second stage of the $1.7 billion Perth Freight Link, with the federal minister for cities saying today the funding agreement was for both stages of the project, not just stage 1.

After Premier Colin Barnett announced yesterday that the second stage of the Perth Freight Link – linking the Roe 8 extension to Fremantle Port – would be put on hold by at least 12 months, Minister for Cities Jamie Briggs told ABC720 that he expected the agreement between the federal and state government to be complied with.

“The agreement that’s been signed by the premier and the prime minister, and more specifically the agreement I signed with Transport Minister Dean Nalder is for the Perth Freight Link, which includes the Roe 8 section and for the second stage,” Mr Briggs said.

He also said the federal government’s funding commitment to the project covered both stages of the project, and payments would only be made when project milestones were achieved.

“When milestones are achieved the federal government will make its payments. If those milestones aren’t achieved the federal government won’t make its payments,” Mr Briggs said.

“The agreement we’ve got is for the entire project. We expect the agreement to be complied with.”

Mr Briggs told 6PR that the agreement was very clear.

"We want work under way on this overall project absolutely to be happening next year," he said.

Mr Barnett said yesterday that the second stage of the project was more expensive and complex than previously thought, and it was unlikely that a decision would be made before the end of 2016.

The second stage was originally meant to be an upgrade of existing roads, including Stock Road and Leach Highway, but the government had also been evaluating construction of a tunnel.

The announcement came just days after the state government named a consortium led by Leighton Contractors as the preferred proponent for the first stage of the Perth Freight Link (Roe 8), which is an extension of Roe Highway from Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road.

“I’m not about to rush into a decision on a link from the end of Roe 8, yet to be built, to the Fremantle Port because it’s incredibly complicated and incredibly expensive for what it does,” Mr Barnett said at a press conference yesterday.

“We might see where we’re at in 12 months’ time, but for the moment all of our effort is Roe 8, the rail line to the airport and Forrestfield and the Swan Valley bypass.

“They are the highest priorities.”

The planned Roe 8 extension has attracted growing community protests because of the route through the Beeliar wetlands.

 

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