COINCIDENCE or orchestrated? Freo-based upper house Greens MP Lynn MacLaren hopes to find out which when she lodges a FOI request for Roe 8 correspondence between state and federal government agencies.
Ms MacLaren and opponents of Roe 8 believe it’s no coincidence the WA environmental protection authority released its report clearing environmental hurdles for the highway extension following the change in government in Canberra.
“I am seeking to clarify the amount of correspondence between ministers, departments and the EPA to ascertain whether those meetings applied inappropriate pressure to the independent decision making of the EPA,” Ms MacLaren told the Herald. “I am also seeking details of the decision-making process and whether any conflicts of interest were declared.”
Ms MacLaren says Tony Abbott has declared himself a roads-building prime minister. That said, he never promised any funding for Roe 8—described by the WA Labor opposition as the most expensive stretch of road in the country—during the campaign, and neither has the Barnett government earmarked any funds towards the project.
“Things can change quickly in the WA economy,” Ms MacLaren says.
“A major environmental hurdle has been cleared by this decision. It is a big gate they’ve opened.”
She says Main Roads now has five years in which to start construction, with the state government likely to expect Canberra to foot most of the bill.
In state parliament Wednesday, WA aboriginal affairs minister Peter Collier noted Roe 8 also needs his consent because of the presence of important sites in North and Bibra lakes.
by CARMELO AMALFI