Fifield defies Ludlam call on Perth Freight Link

Releasing documents ‘could harm Commonwealth-state relations’

Fifield defies Ludlam call on Perth Freight Link
Mitch Fifield says the papers are commercial-in-confidence.


Greens senator Scott Ludlam’s attempt to have Perth Freight Link documents tabled in the Senate has failed.

Ludlam had wanted the papers available by late yesterday but the federal government stymied the bid saying they were the Western Australian Government’s property.

"Some of the documents sought by Senator Ludlam are either Western Australian government documents or documents not required under national environmental law," Senate government business manager senator Mitch Fifield says.

"As with all projects assessed under the EPBC Act, these projects are subject to a robust and transparent assessment process.

"Documents relevant to matters of national environmental significance have been made public and there has been ample opportunity for Senator Ludlam or any other interested parties to provide comment.

"The documents relating project details are commercial-in-confidence and may prejudice Commonwealth-state relations.

"A 30-page summary business case for the Perth freight link was publicly released in December 2014, which details a breakdown of the benefit cost analysis results, the problems the project will resolve, the current challenges facing Western Australia and the freight system, and the scope of the project."

Ludlam finds the response unsatisfactory.

"The fact is that this is the least robust and transparent project assessment framework that I have ever come across," he says.

"This project is worth somewhere between $1.6 billion and $2.5 billion and it was signed off without the business case, traffic modelling, environmental impact assessment having been done, strategic impact assessment of the Perth and Peel Region being done or a benefit cost analysis."

He adds that more than 30 community groups have mobilised against the project.

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