Fighting for you

MATT TAYLOR is the state Liberal MP for Bateman and in this week’s THINKING ALLOWED defends the Perth Freight Link.

I AGREE with the federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke MP (Herald Thinking Allowed, September 5, 2015) that it is vitally important we take this opportunity to focus on a project critical to Perth’s long-term transport network.

I respect Melissa’s passion but cannot let her misleading statements about the Perth Freight Link go without a response.

It is incredibly disappointing that a member of parliament would irresponsibly advocate civil disobedience against a lawful activity.

Melissa and others should read the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill 2015 currently before the WA parliament, whereby the actions she intends undertaking may attract a penalty of 12 months imprisonment or a fine of $12,000 — and may be doubled in circumstances of aggravation.

It is absurd for Melissa and others to suggest this project was simply “pulled out of the hat of political expediency” given that land has been reserved for Roe Highway since 1963 with bipartisan support, until Labor needed Green preferences to retain Fremantle!

Her federal colleague Alannah MacTiernan MP sold government-owned land (when WA planning and infrastructure minister in 2004) that was reserved to make the final connection to Fremantle Port. This single act has diverted all the trucks and traffic to use Leach Highway (which it was never intended to do) and compounded the congestion and road safety problems now endured across this region.

Melissa did not provide figures, so allow me. Around 60,000 vehicles use sections of Leach Highway every day. Heavy vehicles account for 11.5 per cent of traffic and 11.1 per cent of crashes on this section of road. Seventy-two per cent of accidents on Leach Highway are rear-end collisions compared to the metro average of 43.5 per cent. Where Roe Highway joins the Kwinana Freeway a staggering 31 per cent of crashes involve heavy vehicles. The metro average is 5.4 per cent.

By 2021 there will be a 75 per cent increase of trucks on Leach Highway, and a 110 per cent increase by 2031. Roe 8 will remove an estimated 5000 heavy vehicles per day from the southern urban arterial road network, including 2000 per day from Leach Highway by 2021. Overall congestion will be reduced by around 20,000 vehicles per day from Leach Highway and South Street because Roe 8 be a safer and more efficient route.

Opposition to the Roe Highway extension is based on politics, not logic. The City of Cockburn’s own 2013 traffic study shows that Roe 8 will significantly reduce traffic (in some cases by more than half) on Cockburn roads, including Farrington Road, Beeliar Drive, North Lake Road, Berrigan Drive, and Russell Road.

City of Fremantle residents will also benefit significantly from improved access to and from the freeway and suburbs in the east in addition to less trucks on suburban roads.

Rail is not a solution in itself: 14.2 per cent of Perth’s container freight travels by rail, up from two per cent in 2002 and ahead of all other Australian port cities including Melbourne (13.9 per cent), Sydney (13.7 per cent), and Brisbane (five per cent).

Yes, we need more freight travelling by rail and the Barnett government is working towards a best-practice target of 30 per cent. The 2012 Fremantle Port Container Movement Study suggests that 70 per cent of Perth’s freight is not suitable for rail transport and therefore requires transportation by road.

So how do we plan to transport this 70 per cent of freight now and into the future in the safest and most efficient way? This is where Labor and the Greens are deafeningly silent. This is why Roe 8 needs to be built and why we need the non-stop, dedicated Perth Freight Link.

Fremantle Port’s current 740,000 TEUs will not reach its 1.4 million (minimum) TEU capacity for at least 10-15 years, and once at capacity it will still continue operating. The outer harbour at Cockburn/Kwinana will cost in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion and take at least 10-15 years to build, not to mention the planning that will need to be done before this commences including complex environmental planning. Roe 8 will support efficient freight movement for both the inner and outer harbours.

An award-winning two-year community consultation process and a detailed heritage survey influenced the preferred concept design subject to strict environmental conditions setting a new benchmark in design and construction for large-scale infrastructure projects in Australia.

I want to finish with some special mentions, as Melissa did.

I acknowledge all those residents living metres from Leach Highway concerned about the heavy trucks and frequency of accidents near their houses, and the many lifelong-Labor voters who honoured me with their vote at the 2013 WA election because they understand the importance of building Roe 8.  I acknowledge the transport workers union (presumably not seeking Labor pre-selection) for breaking ranks to support safer and better freight access to the Fremantle Port. They know they will save $14-$22 per trip on their heavy vehicles as a result of Roe 8 alone.

I also acknowledge the ambulance drivers and all those accessing the Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct who will benefit from improved access with a new southern access road.

To the many residents of the south metropolitan region who have expressed their support for the WA government’s commitment to Roe 8, including overwhelmingly at the 2013 WA election, residents who would never demonstrate in favour but nonetheless deserve to have their voices heard: we are fighting for you.

14. Borderless Friendship WA 20x7 14. We Care Nepal 15x3

3 responses to “Fighting for you

  1. Glad to see the other side of the story coming out.
    Well said Matt Taylor
    Really tired about hearing all the complete bullshit stories being spun by the lefty anti development groups.
    I always love to see all the anti road protesters drive their cars too, NoMoreRoads protests.
    I had my daughter ask me last week if its true the school will fall in to the tunnel they are going to make under the school.
    This shows the low level that these groups will take to drive their screwed up protests that now they try to terrorise schools kids.
    As for all the sheep that blindly follow along, with no clue of the facts.
    What the hell is an alley in the valley, what crack smoker came up with this, slogan and how stupid are you to be to believe it.
    It was interesting to read the articles by and about Mark Woodcock on this and other freo issues, good to see someone has a grip on reality. We could do with more open factual based discussion, that he brings. Instead of the world is ending dribble all these minority groups peddle.

    STEVE WGV

  2. You need to educate yourself and realise the disastrous effects this will have on many communities. The idea of creating a Melville bypass just to sort the traffic out for Melivlle is very self centred, this doesnt solve the problem, instead just trying to handball the problem on to another council to do deal with. Russell Aubrey look beyond the end of your nose and think about the State not just your precious little pocket

  3. Having attended your “award winning” community meetings in 2010 and 2011 a lot of issues raised by residents impacted by Roe Highway has not been dealt with. Still with construction due to commence in 2016 (only a few months away) we have no answers about our public transport, what noise mitigation we will have for our children’s school or our house as well as with only stage 1 (Roe 8) you completely cut us off from our route to Fremantle by closing Forrest Road. I am also cut off from direct route to my childrens school and scout hall. I also use Bibra Lake for recreation and the plan for this to encroach over the reed area is concerning to have to walk next to a freeway for our recreation. I do see positives though, we might actually get some decent shared paths for bike riding and walking (next to a truck highway) but I still can’t get any answers about our access to them as they seem to only be on 1 side on the Coolbellup side of the road so maybe this isn’t so good either. Your community engagement is terrible and residents can not get any basic answers as to the project timelines and planning in relation to public transport routes and other affects to the community…….IF YOU BUILD IT WE NEED ANSWERS.

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