A NEW tunnel option for the Perth Freight Link that would start at Stock Road in Hilton and emerge at Booyeembara Park is being looked at, according to Fremantle council sources. Commencing at the intersection of Winterfold and Stock Roads—beside Foley Village and Seton Catholic College—the tunnel would pass under Hilton and White Gum Valley and emerge near the driving range at Fremantle golf course. A similar option, presented to the Barnett government as part of the Roe Highway extension in 2002, had a tunnel going from the Stock Road/South Street intersection to the junction of High Street and Stirling Highway.
AN anti-protest bill is being fast-tracked through state parliament to take the sting out of Roe 8 protests, claims local Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren (right) . “While there are legal challenges that are yet to play out, it has been apparent for a long time that stopping Roe 8 may involve ordinary people taking peaceful direct action to block bulldozers from clearing in the Beeliar wetlands,” she says. “This could be a ‘push factor’ in the Barnett government moving so aggressively with its proposed ‘Prevention of Lawful Activity Bill’ which would create new criminal offences, fines up to $24,000 and up to two years’ gaol terms for people convicted of actions that interfere with activities such as clearing land for a road. “The bill, which is still being debated in the WA upper house, is so loosely defined that you could be charged if authorities think you intend to obstruct an activity or you are in possession of a ‘thing’. “For example, if you have a bike chain or rope with you, you could potentially be charged because you might be suspected of intending to use that to lock on to machinery or scale a tree.”
WA transport minister Dean Nalder (right) is looking at permitting 36.5 metre, triple-carriage road trains on the Perth Freight Link. Currently, the maximum length allowed on roads to the port is 27.5 metres, as part of a two-container truck. “If we can create a system and reduce the number of trucks going through because we can put an extra container on it, I have encouraged Main Roads to explore it as an option,” Mr Nalder says. “A final decision has not been made.” Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk says the B-triple road trains could be a safety hazard. “Remember that cars will be sharing the road with these massive trucks,” she says. “This is more proof, if more proof was needed, that PFL is a disastrous plan which will actually mean more trucks and bigger trucks on our roads.”
THE Barnett government has spent at least $255,421 so far on spin doctors for the Perth Freight Link. Questions tabled in parliament by shadow transport minister Peter Tinley (right) reveal the government employed Carolyn Walker Public Relations, JAC Communications and Professional Public Relations Australia to spruik the PFL. Representatives from the outfits attended various rallies and fora without identifying themselves. “Main Roads WA: they’ve got the time and money to spy on activists and community groups, but not to actually do a coherent and comprehensive benefit-cost ratio analysis of PFL and its alternatives,” says Fremantle councillor and anti-PFL campaigner Sam Wainwright. “Your taxes at work!”
COMPILED BY STEPHEN POLLOCK