Dear Malcolm, change the game

GREENS Senator Scott Ludlam and state MLC Lynn MacLaren penned the following letter to the new prime minister… they’re still waiting on a reply.

WE write to invite you to visit Perth and examine the route of the proposed Perth Freight Link to which the Commonwealth proposes to commit $925 million of the total $1.6 billion-plus project.

This follows your reported comments in The Western Australian newspaper recently that the link is an “important game-changing project for WA”.

We propose that your visit includes meeting the families who occupy the 70 homes which lie in the direct path of the link; the people who have fought for two decades to protect arguably Perth’s most precious lakes in the Beeliar wetlands; and the traditional owners’ whose strong opposition to the disturbance of spiritually and archaeologically significant sites in the project area appears to have been ignored.

In your travels along the proposed route, you will have opportunity to see the countless ‘Rethink the Link’ and ‘Save our Homes’ taped, nailed and strung on front fences across Perth’s southern suburbs from Premier Barnett’s own “blue ribbon” seat of Cottesloe to Liberal-leaning suburbs of East Fremantle and Bicton.

We also suggest this visit is necessary in light of your first public statement as Prime Minister in which you stated you intended to demonstrate improved economic leadership; respect for the intelligence of voters; and an end to policy on the run.

The Perth Freight Link and its natural consequence of delaying the evolution of a modern freight terminal and infrastructure network to service WA’s freight growth typifies the worst kind of policy on the run promulgated by the Abbott government.

The project, which will see a divisive, polluting and noisy toll road ending one mile short of the near-capacity 19th century port of Fremantle, fails to make sense at the most basic level.

Worse, it undermines decades of bipartisan planning for an outer harbour to be built at Kwinana – an infrastructure project that, while it still requires careful scoping including environmental aspects, clearly offers far greater opportunity for job creation and investment in WA.

We recommend to you the Indian Ocean Gateway initiative recently released by the City of Kwinana, in which that local government has done the broad industry, investor and stakeholder consultation and research that one would have expected the state government to have done, for an infrastructure decision with such far-reaching consequences.

Your decision on whether your government remains locked into this dead-end project or retains integrity by pulling out now could indeed be a game-changer, for the worse.

We urge you to examine the detail of the project with an inquiring mind, including the full business case — a privilege that has been inextricably unavailable to the taxpayers who will carry its cost. We are confident that in doing so you will see value in examining the alternatives.

We look forward to your reply.

15. Carol Reeve 10x2.3 LAND5449D WG12367A.indd 15. Simone McGurk 15x7

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