ROE 8 and the Perth Freight Link are officially dead, with the McGowan government to create an A-class conservation reserve around North Lake within a year.
Earlier this week WA transport and planning minister Rita Saffioti announced that environmental approvals for the controversial highway had been removed within the Beeliar wetlands.
That leaves Main Roads with just 81 hectares to build roads in the district — half what it originally had. The rest will be rehabilitated.
=Taking a rainy walk through the scar left by clearing along the route, environment minister Stephen Dawson on Thursday described the scene as “the final act of bastardry by the previous government”.
As Ms Saffioti baulked at the strong language (she should read the Herald some weeks), Mr Dawson was adamant: “Well it was, they didn’t have to do this,” he said.
Mr Dawson praised his cabinet colleague for negotiating with the Turnbull government to ensure federal funding for infrastructure wouldn’t dry up after the cancellation of the freight link.
“This is an excellent environmental outcome as it means government approval to build a large road over highly sensitive wetlands has now been revoked.
“The McGowan government will continue to work on options to ensure this environmental jewel in Perth’s metropolitan region is protected for generations to come.”
To that end, all freehold land owned by the state government north of Hope Road and west of Bibra Drive will be amalgamated to create the conservation reserve, which will be managed by the state’s environment department.
Fremantle federal Labor MP Josh Wilson joined the pair and said after 10 years of watching the Barnett government ignoring the southern suburbs’ transport needs, it was great to see some action.
“The end of Roe 8 is the start of the transport solution,” he said, pointing to the upgrade of the High Street/Stirling Highway intersection which is planned for this year, and the North Lake Road/Armadale bridge across the Kwinana Freeway.
Ms Saffioti said another initiative to help ease traffic congestion was her government’s decision to increase the rail freight subsidy, which had helped get containers off trucks and onto trains.
by STEVE GRANT