Barnett to seek legal clarity after Roe 8 rebuff


WA government to appeal supreme court’s rejection of environment green light

Barnett to seek legal clarity after Roe 8 rebuff
WA government feels it has grounds to appeal the decision in the supreme court.

 

Western Australian premier Colin Barnett has signalled his government’s commitment to the Perth Freight Link infrastructure initiative after part of it was found to have suffered a sloppy environmental approval process.

Barnett has cast the decision to appeal the legal ruling as seeking an administrative clarification that goes beyond the building of the tollway infrastructure linking highways to Fremantle port..

"The supreme court's decision is likely to have implications more broadly for government decision-making," the premier says. 

"The decision's importance extends beyond just Roe 8; it is an important one for all of government because it deals with the question of when a government policy becomes a mandatory relevant consideration for decision-making." 

Chief justice Wayne Martin ruled the Environment Protection Authority had failed to follow its own guidelines on recommending the project go ahead, thereby making environment minister Albert Jacob’s approval invalid.

Despite decision-making shortcomings also being exposed by Infrastructure Australia, Roe 8 remains a key priority and is necessary for the "safe and efficient operation of the road network in Perth's southern suburbs", the government insists.

"The state government will request a reassessment of the Roe 8 project to ensure that this critical project proceeds with all necessary environmental approvals in place," Barnett says.

"An appeal is necessary to provide clarity for assessment and approval processes undertaken by State agencies and local governments.

"The decision to appeal is based on advice from the State Solicitor's Office that it considers there are valid grounds to support an appeal."

The appeal will be filed at the earliest practicable opportunity but could take up to 12 months.

"The EPA will also reassess the Roe Highway Stage 8 project with opportunity for public comment," Jacob says.

"The EPA will decide how the assessment will proceed. 

"However, the EPA has advised me that it proposes the reassessment will be undertaken by the new chairman and delegates, who are yet to be appointed."

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