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Barnett’s Freight Highway dead on arrival

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 24 Apr 2015

The Australian Greens said today that a damning report on the Perth Freight link should be the final nail in the coffin of the unwanted project.

The report was prepared by Professor Peter Newman and Cole Hendrigan from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP) and describes the project as ‘a waste of taxpayers' money', confirming what residents and rail transport advocates have been saying for years.

"It is beyond belief that after squandering the proceeds of the greatest commodities boom in the state's history, Premier Barnett is now going back to Canberra with his hand out - not for the Perth Light Rail project or funding for a new freight rail bridge out of Fremantle Port - but for a hated and unnecessary freight highway," said Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

"This major urban freeway is proposed to smash through suburbs, wetlands and important Aboriginal heritage sites. It was given the green-light without a business case, and now Premier Barnett wants the rest of the country to pay for it.

"This is a massive infrastructure project that will cost state and federal governments more than $1.6 billion. The report from CUSP points to the existence of more effective alternatives, including the use of heavy rail to move containers out of the port.

"The Abbott Government committed more than $900 million dollars to this project before a business case had been written, and environmental approvals were slammed through with the final design of carriageways, tunnels and road layout remaining unknown.

"The Barnett Government might want to look at events in Victoria, where pig-headed determination to build an expensive urban freeway cost the Napthine Government office and saw a record number of Greens elected to the Upper and Lower House," Senator Ludlam concluded.

The report, Perth Freight Link: Good Idea, Wrong Port is available online.

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