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Transcript of interview with Gary Adshead: 6PR Mornings: 17 December 2015: Roe 8 Supreme Court ruling; Fremantle Eastern Bypass



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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

E&EO TRANSCRIPT RADIO INTERVIEW 6PR MORNINGS WITH GARY ADSHEAD THURSDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2015

SUBJECTS: Roe 8 Supreme Court ruling; Fremantle Eastern Bypass

GARY ADSHEAD: This morning we were talking Roe 8 on the back of this extraordinary judgement in the Supreme Court that finds that the decision of the Environmental Protection Authority and the Minister of Environment to approve the project was invalid. It's thrown things even more up in the air. During the discussion somebody said it goes back to the decisions made by the Labor Government. Alannah MacTiernan is the Federal Member for Perth these days and keeps a very close eye on what goes on with Roe 8. G'day Alannah.

ALANNAH MACTIERNAN, SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Hi, how are you?

ADSHEAD: Good thanks. People are trying to blame you, Alannah?

MACTIERNAN: It is absolutely true that we did delete the Fremantle Eastern Bypass from the Metropolitan Region Scheme. This had been a farce that had been going on for over 25 years. This is the Fremantle Easten Bypass, which was going to be a great freeway-style road that would cut right through the heart of Fremantle. When this was put into the scheme in the 1970s, people thought that sort of planning was a good idea. By the 80s, that style of planning had become discredited. You just don't mow down

inner city suburbs to create these traffic sewers. The debate started about this in earnest in the 1980s. In the early 1990s Labor, under Carmen Lawrence, deleted it. Then the Libs come back in and put it back on the map - but they don't build it, because they know the challenge you would have to build it would be too great. So they just leave it on the map and don't address the real problem.

When we came into government, we committed to the electorate that we would delete the Fremantle Eastern Bypass. But we didn't just delete it, we actually developed this thing called the Freight Network Review: a big two-year process involving everyone - community and industry - and we came up with a plan. Critical to that plan was a recognition that we needed to move the port, the container facility, to the outer harbour. We had a six-point plan that involved doing some immediate road upgrade works into the Fremantle port, but fundamentally putting that focus on a new port and getting proper road/rail access into that port. That was a plan that we had well underway and indeed even Richard Court in his day had recognised that we needed to develop a container terminal in the outer harbour.

ADSHEAD: If we talk about the debate now, what are you making of the fact that it would seem pretty clear from the Chief Justice's judgement that the EPA got this wrong? I'm astounded at that level of incompetence.

MACTIERNAN: I always think, Gary, that these things really do come from the top. There's been a very clear message from the government that they want to build this road. Unfortunately a lot of these allegedly independent agencies, in their desire to please the government, do not necessarily act with the objectivity that perhaps they should.

I wasn't surprised in a way by this result. In 2003 we didn't have a policy on Roe 8, but we knew there was a lot of community objection to it, we knew we were getting rid of the Fremantle Eastern Bypass, so we went to the EPA and asked for an advisory opinion. You can do that under the legislation - if a government, before it makes a decision, wants to see what the environmental issues would be and whether or not they can be solved. The advice that we got back was extremely clear. It said it would be "extremely difficult" to make a road through that area environmentally acceptable, and it would lead to the ecological values of the area as a whole being diminished in the long term. So we went there with an open slate and said people are arguing for and against this road, we want to know, before we make any decision, what the environmental impact is likely to be and can it be managed. The advice came back that it couldn't.

I must say I was quite surprised that ultimately the government got the EPA approval. I personally think there is a very clear direction from the government that these environmental concerns are not high on their priority list and agencies take the zeitgeist of the government in making these decisions.

ADSHEAD: They've got egg on their faces now, that's for sure.

MACTIERNAN: That's right. At the end of the day, this has to reflect on government. They appoint the people, they resource it, so ultimately if this agency is messing up so regularly, then the government has to accept the responsibility.

ADSHEAD: Alannah thanks very much for joining us.

MACTIERNAN: Thanks a lot.

ENDS

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