WA moves on from Roe 8 to roads windfall

Canberra splashes Budget cash on problem state despite Perth Freight Link ditching

WA moves on from Roe 8 to roads windfall
Mark McGowan has much to smile about on roads


The federal and new Western Australian governments are highlighting a $2.3 billion federal-state transport spending pledge in the lead–up to the national Budget.

The outcome – involving $1.6 billion of federal and $745 million of state cash – will redirect $1.86 billion in mostly federal Perth Freight Link (PFL) spending and include $211 million from savings on existing road projects and $226 million from the latest Federal Government GST top-up payment, the state says.

As part of the overall package, the federal government will also provide $44.2 million towards regional road projects to improve regional road safety across the state.

In addition, a combined $1.2 billion will be allocated towards the state government's Metronet passenger rail project, including, subject to positive business cases, $700 million from the federal government towards future Metronet projects such as the Thornlie and Yanchep line extensions and a further $86 million towards other Metronet related projects.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said that both governments had worked together to deliver the best possible outcome for Western Australia and will continue to do so.

"We recognise the priorities of the new WA state government and will work with them to deliver high quality outcomes for Western Australia," Turnbull adds.

"In particular, the state government's Metronet initiative fits in well with my Government's Smart Cities agenda, and we will continue to work with the Premier and his team to help make it happen."

For premier Mark McGowan, the package will help ease congestion, improve road safety and generally improve connectivity across Perth and WA.

"This package will deliver a significant jobs boost across Western Australia," McGowan says.

He promises other opportunities for WA to access federal funding towards "productivity enhancing" and "congestion busting" infrastructure.

The state government says that in recent weeks, it has "worked with Main Roads Western Australia, the Roe 8 Alliance and the Commonwealth Government to bring forward alternative road projects to safeguard jobs for the local contractors and suppliers".

What it calls the ‘WA Infrastructure Package’ includes the following road projects:

  • Armadale Road/North Lake Road (Kwinana Freeway) – bridge and collector roads (project costs: $237 million)
  • Leach Highway (Carrington Street to Stirling Highway) – upgrade to High Street ($118 million)
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital & Murdoch Activity Centre access from Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway – ($100 million)
  • Roe Highway (Kalamunda Road) – grade separated intersection ($86 million)
  • Reid Highway (Altone Road to West Swan Road) – dual carriageway ($70 million)
  • Wanneroo Road (Ocean Reef Road) – grade separated intersection ($65 million)
  • Wanneroo Road (Joondalup Drive) – grade separated intersection ($50 million)
  • Kwinana Freeway (Russell Road to Roe Highway) – widening of northbound lanes ($49 million)
  • Kwinana Freeway (Roe Highway to Narrows Bridge) – implementing Smart Freeways ($47 million)
  • Mitchell Freeway (Cedric Street to Vincent Street) – widening of southbound lanes ($40 million)
  • Kwinana Freeway (Manning Road) – freeway on-ramp ($35 million)
  • Outback Highway – seal priority sections ($33 million)
  • Wanneroo Road (Joondalup Drive to Flynn Drive) – dual carriageway ($31 million)
  • Karel Avenue (Farrington Road to Berrigan Drive) – upgrades ($15 million)
  • Bunbury Outer Ring Road – planning work ($12.5 million)
  • Woolworths Drive/Hale Road intersection upgrade ($600,000)
  • Metronet – Denny Avenue and Davis Road (Armadale Rail Line) level crossing removal ($62 million).

The optics of the move will be viewed with interest in Victoria, where the expensive rejection of the East-West Link project garnered a very different federal response.

WA transport minister Rita Saffioti expects cancelling PFL with federal approval will cost no more than $50 million while East-West’s cancellation cost many multiples of that.

Meanwhile federal finance minister and WA senator Mathias Cormann and federal infrastrucure minister Darren Chester say they recognise the political realities in WA but remain committed to a project they  believe  would have to be built at some stage.

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