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Turnbull's tunnel a betrayal of WA



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THE HON ALANNAH MACTIERNAN MP SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR REGIONAL

DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE MEMBER FOR PERTH

CHRIS BROWN

LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FREMANTLE

TURNBULL’S TUNNEL A BETRAYAL OF WA

Malcolm Turnbull has betrayed Western Australia’s trading future by saddling himself to the fatally flawed and thoroughly discredited Perth Freight Link.

His funding commitment today to a new tunnel under Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley brings the total Commonwealth spend on the project to almost $1.2 billion, at the cost of developing an Outer Harbour.

That’s $1.2 billion on a project which:

 Was announced almost two years ago and still has not seen a shovel hit the ground;  Has been blocked by the WA Supreme Court on environmental grounds, and trashes the environmentally sensitive Beeliar Wetlands for little demonstrable

benefit;  Will create a truck carpark in Fremantle, with Turnbull’s tunnel still falling 4km short of the Fremantle inner harbour - meaning thousands of trucks will be

funnelled onto a 40-year-old two-lane bridge, before winding through businesses and homes on Tydeman Road in North Fremantle;  Still does not address the most fundamental problem of all - that Fremantle inner harbour will reach optimum capacity in the next five to 10 years, turning this road

into one of the biggest white elephants in WA infrastructure history.

The significant change in project scope also clearly adds cost but also means that the actual benefits will need to be reassessed given it still will not access the port. This means that Infrastructure Australia will need to properly revisit the business case. We need to get the planning right.

WA desperately needs an economic stimulus through infrastructure to help the transition from the mining boom, but Malcolm Turnbull is proving to be all talk on his big commitments to WA.

His GST compensation package will be spent on the Forrestfield rail link - a project which was already going ahead anyway.

With stage one of the Perth Freight Link held up in the courts and no design or approval work completed on stage two, it will be years before shovels hit the ground on Turnbull’s tunnel - if ever.

The Perth Freight Link has never been more than an ideological obsession of the WA Liberals, dreamt up to fill the funding black hole after $500 million earmarked for Perth public transport was ripped from the Budget in 2014.

It is a suboptimum project that only delays the long-term solution to growing our exports and imports - building the Outer Harbour, with proper road/rail linkages.

In a report to be released this month by the Commonwealth-funded RDA Perth, the Outer Harbour is recognised as the number one infrastructure priority for WA.

Federal Labor has acknowledged this and committed funding to expedite planning for the Outer Harbour.

But sadly, it appears Malcolm Turnbull has drunk the kool-aid and strapped himself to the Perth Freight Link.

It’s long past time to rethink the link, Mr Turnbull - now it’s time for West Australians to rethink your prime ministership.

TUESDAY, 12 APRIL 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: MARK SCOTT 0413 381 060