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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 46

Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (15:24): I would like to make a contribution to this debate as well, provoked by Senator Back. It is all very well for Senator Back to selectively quote facts, as he was accusing Senator Ludlam of doing. If you are talking about the Stephenson plan, the government has gone way off the Stephenson plan; it went away from that plan years ago. If we were going to stick to that, it would have meant a freeway going up Stock Road, across Stock Road and into Alfred Cove at Point Walter, across the river and into Dalkeith. For those of you who do not know Perth, Dalkeith and around Point Walter and Alfred Cove are two of the wealthiest suburbs in Perth, so of course they did not want that to happen. Did we stick to that plan in WA? No, we did not, but that was part of the Stephenson plan. There was a whole lot of other really urban design involved in that plan, and really good rail. Has that rail been put in place? No. So, stop quoting the Stephenson plan to us. Governments over the years have thrown that out. There was some really good stuff there that was never done. So, do not say, 'Oh, now we should stick to the Stephenson plan.' I bet your wealthy mates did not want that road going through Dalkeith or going through Alfred Cove. When are you going to start lobbying for that road to go in?

When we talk about 'just a little bit of wetlands', you have to remember that the context in Western Australia is that we have lost on the Swan Coastal Plain 85 per cent of our wetlands. So, 'just another wetland' does not wash with those people who are trying to conserve the last little bit of wetlands that we have on the Swan Coastal Plain and who have fought for years and years to protect the Beeliar Regional Park and in fact to get the Beeliar Regional Park in place. I was there. I was campaigning from the word go on those regional parks, in particular the Beeliar Regional Park. It is of extremely important ecological value. It is a tragedy, watching those banksia woodlands being destroyed, which is what is happening. They are home to Carnaby's black cockatoos, which are threatened. These are very important banksia woodlands.

What was also selectively left out of the discussion was the fact that Perth has also lost most of our banksia woodlands. These are important areas in a city that has lost its wetlands, that has lost a lot of its urban vegetation. These are the last remaining areas. And to say that it was in a plan a long time ago, when there have been deviations from that plan over many years, is completely out of context in the discussion. The community does not want this to go ahead. And the Liberal government knows damn well they do not want it to go ahead, and they are going to see some of those seats fall because they are ramming this out-of-date Roe 8 through. To say that there is a plan there and that it is going to go right through to the port is nonsense. They do not have the next part of that in place to get it through to the port of Fremantle.

When I was asking questions in estimates, the department confirmed that unless the business case is presented they will not be getting the funding for the completed freeway. As yet, that business case certainly has not been made public. So to say that it is funded is a misnomer, because it is not. They do not have those plans in place yet. They are not taking Roe 8 through to the port. So, to say that it is through to the port is absolute nonsense. There are perfectly valid alternatives that would deal with the issues Senator Back was talking about—some of the local councils down there being concerned about the cost to them. The Perth Regional Development Authority has some very encouraging plans about how you could take alternative transport down to a future outer harbour further south of the existing port of Fremantle.

That is not to say that everyone has endorsed it yet, but they are very encouraging plans. So, when we are having the debate, let's actually get all those facts on the table. People in Perth do not want Roe 8. They do not want to see Beeliar Regional Park and the Beeliar wetlands affected. It is tragic to see that vegetation that is being lost. We do not need to lose any more of our banksia woodland, all for a road that people do not want, that is going to be out of date—it is out of date; it is out-of-date planning. Move to the future. Support an alternative approach and let's stop Roe 8 right now.