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Perth Freight Link? Nobody wants it: Ludlam

Greens senator says "insane drive" toward building more freeways must stop.


The Greens have derided the Federal Government’s pursuit of a new freight link for heavy vehicles in Perth and claim the project has no support within the community.

Federal Greens senator Scott Ludlam took aim at the Government’s plan to contribute $925 million to the Perth Freight Link, which is expected to provide improved access to the Port of Fremantle at a cost $1.6 billion.

The proposed project includes a 5km four-lane extension of the Roe Highway from the Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road but Ludlam believes money should be spent upgrading train lines in Fremantle instead.

“Why the hell aren’t we getting this container traffic off freeways and onto rail? A simple duplication of the Fremantle rail bridge to give dedicated access to freight traffic out of the Port of Fremantle would de-bottleneck that access to the port and make an enormous difference as soon as it is separated from the passenger rail network,” he says.

“This is the kind of network thinking that we need to be engaged in rather than this insane drive towards more urban freeways.”

Ludlam is particularly critical of the plan to extend the Roe Highway, claiming it will destroy Aboriginal heritage sites, woodland and seasonal wetlands and ruin neighbourhood amenity.

“It is, in fact, hated. Let us put this very clearly on the record: nobody wants it,” he says of the freight link.

Local community groups are opposed to the highway extension due to environmental concerns, and Ludlam says the Greens will work with them and other campaigners to defeat the project.

“It will be defeated. It is not a project that Perths suburbs need,” he says.

“This urban bushland is too precious to lose.”

Ludlam is also critical of the decision to allocate funding to the project given it is not listed on the priority list of Infrastructure Australia, which is the federal body set up to advise government on nationally significant projects that should be funded.

Western Australia is expected to provide $230 million toward the Perth Freight Link, with the remainder of funding to come from a toll on trucks.

Some work is due to begin this year, with significant construction to get underway from the middle of 2015.

The link is expected to open by the end of 2020 and reduce travel times by up to 16 minutes.

Photography: Brad Gardner

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