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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31757

Mr RANDALL (10:43 AM) —It was my privilege on 5 June this year to announce the most satisfying achievement in the electorate of Canning since I have been there. Senator Campbell, the roads minister, and I announced in Halls Head in my electorate $150 million for the Mandurah bypass. The Mandurah bypass is a program which has been delivered under the federal government's new roads program—fully funded in this year's budget—called AusLink. I have been fighting for the Mandurah bypass since I was elected the member for Canning, and it is fantastic to see a project that I have been fighting for on behalf of my constituents, the region in general and Western Australia, as an important piece of transport infrastructure, being delivered. Initially, the state government had corresponded that they would like the federal government to contribute half the cost of the Mandurah bypass, which was to be about $75 million. We went further than that. We offered $150 million to complete the Kwinana Freeway and the Mandurah bypass as a continuous build—in other words, we gave 50 per cent of the total cost of this project to see that the project is built in a timely and seamless manner so that the bottlenecks et cetera that occur in the electorate do not occur again.

Interestingly, I realised that my colleague in the neighbouring seat of Brand, Mr Beazley, has been absolutely absent on this matter ever since he became the member for Brand. Strangely, he has not been lobbying like I have. As we know, he was a very senior member of the Labor Party, and he had the opportunity to make strong representations on behalf of the Peel region to get the Mandurah bypass built—and he shares an area where the route of the road will be. In an article on 6 August 2003 in the Mandurah Coastal Times, Mr Beazley was quite snide in the way that he said that the federal government needed to give money quickly for these projects and that the road needed to be identified as a road of national importance.

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mr John Anderson, wrote to the state transport minister, Allanah McTiernan, on 1 March 2002 asking her to put in place the measures to identify the Mandurah bypass as a road of national importance. I wrote to Mr Anderson urging him to assist in this matter and Mr Anderson replied saying that Minister McTiernan had not responded to him. Mr Anderson's letter to me was written on 29 June 2003—some 16 months later. So some 16 months later, the state transport minister had not even bothered to apply for Roads of National Importance funding. And she has now come out into the public and said that the federal government had held this up for so long because they would not respond with respect to this road. She is saying black is white. She probably thinks that, if she says this often enough, the people of Western Australia might believe that it was the federal government that was not responding and not her. But let us continue with Mr Beazley, who said:

If Mr Randall is so close to the top, why hasn't he been able to persuade his colleagues of the urgency of the Peel deviation by now?

I have—I have done it. I am proud to say that I did that in conjunction with others in the area—but not Labor members. The local Labor member for Mandurah, David Templeman, said that this road is 10 years away. He is not pushing to have it completed—nor are the state transport minister and Mr Beazley.

Sadly, now that the money has been delivered, the state government are saying: `We haven't got the funds to put into this. The federal government might have given us the $150 million, but we do not have any money.' But they do have the money. They have received not only the GST allocated to them but also—as Mr Beattie has stated—an extra $230 million out of the GST in this year's grants. That road could be built immediately with that GST money and they could get on with it. The state transport minister said that the planning is not in place and the design work is not in place—but main roads tell us that is not true; that they could begin work straightaway. In fact, we gave them $5 million upfront from this federal grant to get on with things immediately.

Strangely, Mr Beazley came out in this week's Sound Telegraph and said that he is pleased that the project has been delivered and that `It's about time that John Howard stopped spending on the Eastern States' roads and spent some over here.' The fact is that, if Mr Beazley had been helping, instead of being the absent member for Brand, we might have had some help in the past. Instead of Mr Beazley sniping and criticising from the side, some help from the member for Brand would help get this road finished. (Time expired)