Premier Colin Barnett joins State Political Editor Gareth Parker to discuss issues concerning WA voters.
Here is the bit I’m sure interests all the locals on the PFL.
The section on the light rail is interesting as well.
PERTH FREIGHT LINK
GP: One of the issues that a lot of people wanted to talk about on our Facebook pages and on Twitter is the Perth Freight Link. It’s a very expensive project, it’s a very contentious project. Why are you going ahead with it?
CB: Perth is quite a unique city. We have a population of just under 2 million, but Perth is also a major trading point. We don’t have much manufacturing industry scattered around the suburbs of Perth, and yet we’ve got huge mining, petroleum and agricultural industries. So we’ll always have large amounts of heavy transport, chemicals transport, agricultrual produce, minerals, coming out of rail systems and the like. That makes us a little bit different, our ports are very important. The project, I think, should be looked at in two stages. The first stage is Roe 8, which is taking (traffic) from the (Kwinana) Freeway through to Stock Road. Now, whatever the future of the port may be, Roe 8 is needed, both to service the Fremantle Port and a future port at Cockburn.
GP: Do you say that Roe 8 could take traffic south as well as north (from Stock Road?)
CB: Wherever the port goes, you need Roe 8. So Roe 8 will be the first stage and a lot of work has done into that, its design, environmental approvals, it really is ready to go. We think work will probably start next year on Roe 8. The second component is getting heavy vehicles, not only through Roe 8, but into the port. There are all sorts of issues there, because we’re going through established residential areas. So the design work is not yet complete. A fair bit of work needs to happen on that. We do need to have a better access into Fremantle. Fremantle will continue to grow as a port for another 15 years, then it will continue (as a working port). It’s not going to close. There seems to be a view that Fremantle is going to close. It won’t. It will reach its capacity then continue to operate at that capacity. In about 15 years time you will start to see extra port facilities develop in Cockburn. It won’t be as big as Fremantle initially, but by 2030 maybe it will become the main port. So at that stage, you will also need the access to go to Cockburn.
GP: There’s two main options beyond Roe 8. One is to take it north on Stock Road, then west on Leach Highway and High Street. The other option the Transport Minister is looking at is tunnelling. You’re supposed to award a contract by December. Are you confident you’ll have enough information to be able to pick an option that’s within Budget by December?
CB: No I’m not. I think that’s probably a bit tight.
GP: It will be pushed out?
CB: Well I think we’ve got to get this right. And it is complicated. For the moment, the concentration will be getting Roe 8 underway.
GP: So you’re now saying this is really a two-stage process?
CB: There are two projects. Interconnected, but Roe 8 is the start, get Roe 8 built, then build the connection into Fremantle. So there is a bit of time to sort that out, and there are complex issues, one of which is the choice between different road routes, or tunnelling – a lot of work to be done to investigate that. There is also the issue of how do you get across the Swan River and into North Fremantle and the port facilities.
GP: Indeed, because even if you build the $1.6 billion link, it only takes you to Canning Highway, doesn’t it.
CB: It will get you there, then you need to get across the river. That’s the southern part of my electorate of Cottesloe. I’m very conscious of the issues of getting that tight corner into the Fremantle port area.
GP: So I guess given that uncertainty, and that issue about getting traffic into the port, a lot of people are wondering why you don’t just take the investment, send it further south to service a new road and rail corridor into a new port down at Cockburn.
CB: Well, the new port is probably $4 billion or $5 billion to build. And it’s not needed yet. It will be needed, but probably not for another 15 years. So we’re not going to build a road system to a port that isn’t there.