Senate backs call for Perth Freight Link documents


Greens seek Infrastructure Australia’s view on and business case for project

Senate backs call for Perth Freight Link documents
Scott Ludlam wants project information made public.

 

Greens senator Scott Ludlam has hailed Senate support for his motion ordering the federal government to produce key documents relating to the Perth Freight Link.

Prefacing his motion with a quote from by productivity commissioner Peter Harris that "we treat consumers like idiots if we don‘t publish [cost benefit studies]' in relation to Commonwealth funding of major infrastructure projects", it seeks four sets of documents relating to the increasingly controversial Western Australian project that is in the sights of the Greens.

"The WA and federal government have committed more than $1.6 billion of taxpayers' money to an unplanned, maligned and destructive freight freeway that will disfigure suburbs across Perth's southern suburbs, and they've done so without producing any meaningful reports or data to justify their position," WA senator Ludlam says.

"Before the last election, Tony Abbott promised that his government wouldn't spend more than $100 million on an infrastructure project without a published cost-benefit analysis. Despite committing over $900 million to this project, and despite the Infrastructure Australia evaluation of the Freight Link being completed, nothing is publicly available."

To be tabled by 5pm today, the order seeks:

  • the Infrastructure Australia Board evaluation of the Perth Freight Link project that occurred at its meeting on May 7
  • any business case presented by the WA government
  • any other documents the WA government provided Infrastructure Australia on the project
  • any Infrastructure Australia, including its comparative priority.

As with Victoria’s East West Link, Perth Freight Link has been a political lightning rod for the state government, the difference being that WA’s next election is not due until March 2017.

It has garnered reports of agreement yet to be finalised within the state Coalition government and comment from as far afield as British comic Ben Elton.

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