Dear Mr McGowan

Thank you for forwarding me a copy of WA Labor’s policy document ‘Our Vision: Freight and Trade’ accompanied by your personal letter enthusiastically endorsing the plan. I believe it is a misinformed and sad vision of a dark past prior to the Perth Freight Link (PFL), that you are promising to bring back to haunt us.

It will be devastating for those who say ‘we are sick of hearing about the Perth Freight Link – JUST BUILD IT ‘ to now read that as WA Labor leader you are ‘proud’ to announce your intention to cancel a viable infrastructure solution and hand back approximately $1.4B of hard-earned federal road funding as the central theme of your policy ‘vision’.

This funding was destined to relieve congestion, trauma and pollution on our roads, providing access to the State’s major emergency hospital site and creating 2,400 jobs in the process. There are also demonstrable secondary benefits to the community such as increased property values and economic growth through the removal of traffic congestion.

Less obvious to the lay person is the massive benefit provided in linking Fremantle Port with a freeflowing highway which, with the additional construction of Fremantle Port Connect (the Last Mile), will allow the Port to reach optimum capacity of two million TEU’s (20 foot container) as indicated in the recently released Perth Transport Plan. This would avoid the need to spend $6b building your proposed new outer harbour along with the massive environmental destruction and risk associated with it – an option you enthusiastically tout as ‘visionary’. What you fail to say is that the Environmental Protection Authority have previously declared there is little chance of the outer harbour ever receiving environmental approval and neither have you provided any indication where this huge funding investment will come from.

The current Government’s initiative to construct the PFL with Federal funding by 2020 at no cost to the State is a strategy that seems slightly more visionary than your proposal.

Your plan to cancel the Roe 9 tunnel bypass as part of the PFL, would leave only one option to combat the 50% increase in traffic in the next five years – a spaghetti junction upgrade at the Stock Road and Leach Highway intersection. The aggregated cost of this and other infrastructure upgrades, plus $400m in compensation for the Stock Road Landowners Group may well exceed the cost of the PFL.

I recall some of your best supporters eagerly waving their banners nightly on news programs, until the State Government committed to the tunnel as part of the bypass option for Roe 9.

The notion that Labor will only commit to upgrades to Leach Highway between Carrington Street and Stirling Highway to reduce trauma levels is a massive injustice to all other road users across the region where trauma levels are even higher!

The Perth Freight Link is a ‘road to nowhere’ that brings ‘no benefit’ – I don’t think so!

I call upon you Mr McGowan to review your policy with reference to the bi-partisan Perth Transport Plan to develop truly visionary solutions to the impending traffic chaos and to treat all members of the community with equal respect.

Russell Aubrey
City of Melville Mayor
8 September, 2016

Ps: This aligns with Council resolution however they are my personal views, formed over many years monitoring the growth in traffic congestion on local roads such as Leach Highway, South Street, Stock Road and North Lake Road and fighting for a sustainable and immediate solution.


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