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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4628

Mr MORTON (Tangney) (16:45): I rise to talk about an issue that's very important to me and very important to the people of Tangney and to the people of the federal electorate of Fremantle. It's an issue that I've risen on on a number of occasions: the Roe 8 and Roe 9 project, a very important road project in Western Australia and a project that the federal government is steadfastly committed to. In fact, in the budget there is $1.2 billion available for the WA government to get on and build this road.

However, today I'm rising to speak with a slightly different focus on this same issue—that is: what is the position of the federal Labor Party? What is their position in relation to making sure there's $1.2 billion available for the first state government willing to proceed with the Roe 8 and Roe 9 project? I think you'll find, and I think you'll be concerned in the same way that I am, that the federal Labor Party will remove the $1.2 billion that's available in the budget for this road. They will take from Western Australia $1.2 billion of much-needed infrastructure funding to support jobs. They will take that from WA. Now, I'm not suggesting, and nor do I think, that Labor will soon return to government, but they need to be very clear. They need to come into this chamber and make it very clear, particularly while the people of Fremantle will be casting a vote in a by-election, whether or not the federal Labor Party are committed to maintaining the ability of a current or future state government in WA to access $1.2 billion to construct Roe 8 and Roe 9. If it is the commitment of the Labor Party to remove those funds, they must be very honest with the people of Fremantle before they vote, and they'll have plenty of time now to make sure they get that message clear.

To be very clear—in fact, extremely crystal clear—there is some doubt about whether the federal government is committed to this project and whether the $1.2 billion is there. You will hear people say that it's not really there, that it's imaginary or that it's a trick. Let me quote from the federal budget—this is a direct quote:

The Australian Government remains committed to the construction of the Roe 8 and 9 extensions to complete the Perth Freight Link, despite the decision of the Western Australian (WA) Government not to proceed with the project.

… the Australian Government will provide $1.2 billion to the first WA Government willing to build the Perth Freight Link by constructing the Roe 8 and 9 extensions …

There it is. That's a direct quote from the budget. It's there.

There are two issues here: why won't the state Labor government get on and build this road, using the funding that's available to them; and, if they won't, what's federal Labor's position? Are they going to remove the ability to have that funding there for a future government? Are they committed to keeping the $1.2 billion there to build Roe 8 and Roe 9? Or are they going to take it away from WA? This is something they need to be very honest about.

Let's remember why Roe 8 and Roe 9 is important: it will bypass 15 sets of traffic lights; 7,000 trucks a day will be taken off local roads; 74,000 cars a day will be taken off local roads; it will save 450,000 cubic tonnes of CO2; it will make those communities south of the river safer.

Mark McGowan and state Labor need to get on and build this road. They need to access their funding, because while I'm still calling on federal Labor to make their position clear, if WA state Labor don't get there and access the $1.2 billion, I think we'll find the position of federal Labor will be to deny Western Australians that $1.2 billion. I've said to state Labor that, if they don't like the previous designs, they should look to modify it in some way. I'm committed to this project because it will make a big difference to my community. It is a big investment in those communities of Tangney and in Fremantle south of the river, and we remain committed to getting this job done.