WA Treasurer unveils road projects in Budget

By: Jason Whittaker

The Western Australian Government will invest $810 million in roads as part of its 2008 Budget handed down yesterday. Another $246

The Western Australian Government will invest $810 million in roads as part of its 2008 Budget handed down yesterday.

Another $246 million will be poured into the new multi-million dollar Perth-Bunbury Highway, while Treasurer Eric Ripper announced $53 million will be spent on a dual carriageway on the Reid Highway which will run from West Swan Road to the Great Northern Highway.

As well as the dual carriageway, east Perth will also receive an extra $13 million for general road upgrades, while $14.6 million will be spent on various link roads in Peel.

Furthermore, the Government is spending another $32 million to complete the extension of the Mitchell Freeway from Hodges Drive to Burns Beach Road.

Another $25 million has been set aside for the construction of the second stage of Indian Ocean Drive, which will result in a 55km section between Ocean Farms Estate and Cervantes.

Goldfields-Esperance will be given just over $15 million for road improvements, of which the majority will be spent to reconstruct the Lake Raeside section of the Goldfields Highway.

A section of the Great Northern Highway will also receive new passing lanes, with the Budget setting aside $39.9 million for the section from Muchea to Wubin.

The State’s ports will also receive upgrades, with Ripper announcing a $377 million commitment to improving port infrastructure.

Of that figure, $126 million will be spent deepening the Fremantle Inner Harbour, while another $155 million will be used to construct a multi-user berth and bulk handling facility at Utah Point in Port Hedland.

According to Ripper, the Government’s infrastructure investments demonstrate its willingness to invest in ensuring the State can meet the demand and continue its strong economic growth.
"We are committed to building Western Australia," he says.

"To that end we continue implementing our record capital works program that will see $26.1 billion invested in our State over the next four years."

The Opposition, however, has labelled the Budget uninspiring and has accused the Government of wasting the resources of the mining boom.

Businesses have also vented anger over Ripper’s refusal to lower payroll taxes.

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