Councils bid for billions

THE South West Group of councils is hoping for another cash injection from the Federal government after its last bid surprisingly paid off earlier this year.

The group, which includes Cockburn, Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana and Rockingham councils, took the unusual step of sidestepping the WA government and applying directly to Canberra for a range of projects.,

That resulted in four of eight requested projects including the ageing Fremantle Traffic Bridge getting onto a ‘priority’ funding list for Infrastructure Australia.

A new advocacy document seeks to build on this precedent, outlining 11 “catalytic infrastructure and policy priorities” that aim to “unlock the economic potential of the region”.

Economic engine

Claiming their region is WA’s “economic engine”, the group is after $7.98 billion from state and federal governments, as well as private investment, estimating it would return $16.71b to the state’s economy and create 32,780 jobs.

Big ticket items include $937.5m for a Fremantle to Murdoch transit link, $200m for a Canning Bridge station redevelopment, $1.76b to redevelop Victoria Quay for “commercial tourism” and “urban development”, including a new train station forecourt upgrade, and $858m for various freeway upgrades.

The most ambitious request is $3.26b for the “Western Trade Coast”, including a new intermodal container terminal, a Fremantle to Rockingham “controlled access highway”, and further development of the defence facilities in the region – justified by an expected $6.63 billion “economic outcome” and 12,890 jobs on this project alone.

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