Now Perth Freight Link hits legal hurdle

New blow for ill-fated freight infrastructure project

Now Perth Freight Link hits legal hurdle
The WA government has had a setback in the state’s supreme court.


Little seems to be going right for the Perth Freight Link, with the latest setback coming at the hands of the state’s highest legal officer, chief justice Wayne Martin.

Hearing the supreme court case, Save Beeliar Wetlands (Inc) v Jacob, Martin ruled the state Environment Protection Authority (EPA) failed to address environmental concerns correctly.

This means, the EPA report that state environment minister Albert Jacob relied on to give the construction go-ahead for the Roe 8 extension section is invalid, as is his decision.

The EPA had ignored its own guidelines and the judge is clear that advice to proceed contradicted its assessment findings.

He says it is "a singular feature of the Assessment Report that notwithstanding the EPA's conclusion that the Proposal, if implemented, would have a significant impact upon critical environmental assets even after all efforts at on-site mitigation had been exhausted, nowhere in the Assessment Report is there any specific reference to the possibility or prospect that this conclusion might lead the EPA to recommend against implementation of the Proposal.

"Rather, the approach taken throughout the Assessment Report is to identify the residual environmental impacts which remain after all efforts at on-site mitigation have been exhausted, and then to identify the environmental offsets which are considered to be sufficient to 'counterbalance' those residual impacts."

The judge effectively says the ball in now in the bureaucracy’s court.

"It will be for the EPA to determine, in the light of these reasons and current circumstances, what steps must now be taken to undertake and complete an assessment of the environmental impact of the Proposal in conformity with the legal obligations imposed upon the EPA by the Act," Martin states in his ruling."

The case was brought by environment group Save Beeliar Wetlands, which opposes the routes path through the area.

Despite the setback, premier Colin Barnett reportedly promises the project will go ahead.

"We’ve yet to have time to study the full implications of that but my best guess at this stage is that the state government will need to redo all or part of the environmental approvals for Roe 8," he Barnett local media.

The promise comes against continuing questions about the decision-making related to the project.

Save Beeliar Wetlands, Barnett,PFL, Roe 8,Perth Freight Link, Jacob, Martin, supreme court,

The WA government has had a setback in the state’s supreme court.

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