Rudd urged to 'fast-track' funding for Swan Valley bypass

Rudd Government urged to accelerate funding for truck bypass in Western Australia's Swan Valley

By Brad Gardner | May 14, 2010

The Rudd Government is being urged to accelerate funding for a truck bypass in Western Australia’s Swan Valley.

WA Transport Forum CEO Ian King says the section of road on the Great Northern Highway that runs through the Swan Valley is incapable of handling the number of trucks using it.

He expects the problem to get worse due to the expansion of mining projects in the state.

King says a bypass will improve safety by separating trucks from general motorists and significantly improve travel times.

"If it bypasses the towns it will probably halve the time taken to get to Wubin," he says.

"The bypass is definitely needed. We want to see it fast-tracked."

Referring to the Rudd Government’s proposed 40 percent tax on mining profits, King says money should be invested in the bypass because it will help service the mining sector.

"I think if they are going to continue to milk the benefits of the mining industry they need to improve infrastructure now," he says.

Part of the revenue from the tax is to be funnelled into a fund to pay for infrastructure in resource-rich states such as Western Australia and Queensland.

Pearce MP Judi Moylan this week called for the bypass to be built "without further delay".

"This route carries heavy haulage trucks and general traffic through the heart of the beautiful Swan Valley," Moylan says.

She says vehicle numbers will increase once new projects begin, such as the Oakajee port and rail scheme in 2011.

Moylan criticised the federal Budget for not allocating funds to the bypass, prompting a response from the Government.

"It's a bit rich for Judi Moylan to criticise the Government when her own political party has failed to make a commitment to this project," a spokesman for Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says.

He says a Swan Valley bypass is not part of the Government's previous election commitments, but $160 million is being invested in Port Hedland to underpin infrastructure vital to the resources sector.

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