Industry hits back at Roe 8 funding claims


Opposition says levy on trucking sector would help fund project

Industry hits back at Roe 8 funding claims
Liza Harvey

 

Western Roads Federation (WRF) has quashed a state Opposition proposal to impose a levy on freight transporters – but not commuters – to help fund the Roe Highway projects.    

Western Australian Liberal leader Liza Harvey pledged at the party’s state conference to build Roe 8 and Roe 9 if the Liberals won the state election.

She doubled down on the levy stance in an interview radio station 6PR, saying previous dealings with industry validated those claims.

"To that end, the freight sector has said that they are prepared to forego a portion of their productivity gain by way of a levy on trucks and on the freight industry to help fund the project," she told host Gareth Parker.

"There would be a truck toll but not a commuter toll.

"The freight sector have said to us: ‘The savings to us are going to be so significant, with respect to this road infrastructure, that we are prepared to put a portion of our productivity gains towards paying for the road’.

"It won’t be on commuters, it’ll just be on freight."


Read back on historical debate around the Roe 8 project, here


When asked on any specific costings, Harvey said her party "would need to go back over the figures", but added that when the project went out to tender (when Dean Nalder was still transport minister), the cost was $1.35 billion.

"$1.2 billion is sitting in federal funds ready to go, and the remainder will be paid over time by the trucking sector.

"We’ll get clearer on how much the trucking and freight industry will contribute over time – but it’s needed."

She later clarified the use of the word toll, ruling out specific toll booths but remaining firm on a levy cost for trucks.

The WRF in reponse tells ATN that, while the industry position - in support of the building of the Roe highway connection to the port - has never changed, it had been blindsided by the recent proposal. 

"Western Roads Federation strongly supports the  building of Roe 8, and continues to actively campaign.

"However we are disappointed that the opposition did not consult with industry regarding proposed charges prior to the announcement."

WRF chairman Craig Smith-Gander tells Fairfax: "Our position is that we believe it is in the Opposition's best interest to talk to the industry first to discuss the details of what they are proposing." 

"Second, if the road is to benefit all West Australians, it is inequitable to apply a charge to only one segment - the road transport industry."

WA transport minister Rita Saffioti also dismissed Harvey's calls, tweeting: "The WA Liberal Leader has proposed a shortsighted, unfunded truck highway, that goes to a port that is reaching capacity.

"Now, today she has stated it will be be a toll road - charging users to use it. So her plan is to increase taxes on Western Australia."

The current state government took the contentious Roe 8 and 9 extensions to Fremantle off the agenda when it was elected in 2017.

 

Western Roads Federation strongly supports the  building of Roe 8, and continues to actively campaign. However we are disappointed that the opposition did not consult with industry re proposed charges prior to the announcement.

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