The Senate has ordered the Federal Government to produce key documents relating to the Perth Freight Link, supporting a Greens' motion moved by Senator Scott Ludlam this afternoon.
"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," Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
"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. It's not good enough.
"In supporting my motion, the Senate has ordered the Government to table a number of documents, including the Infrastructure Australia Board evaluation of the Perth Freight Link and any business case presented by the WA Government.
"The Senate has recognised comments by Productivity Commissioner Peter Harris warning against treating people like ‘idiots' if cost benefit analysis for major infrastructure projects if not made available.
"Colin Barnett and his mates in Canberra have deliberately avoided releasing key information relating to the Perth Freight Link. They are treating the people of WA with no respect whatsoever. It's time for that to end.
"It would be inexcusable for the Federal Government to refuse the Senate's request," Senator Ludlam concluded.
(a)That the Senate notes the comments made by Productivity Commissioner, Mr Peter Harris, who said ‘we treat consumers like idiots if we don‘t publish [cost benefit studies]' in relation to Commonwealth funding of major infrastructure projects;
(b) there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, no later than 5pm on Tuesday, 11 August 2015, the following documents held or prepared by Infrastructure Australia:
(i) the Infrastructure Australia Board evaluation of the Perth Freight Link project that occurred at its meeting on 7 May 2015,
(ii) any business case presented by the Western Australian Government for the Perth Freight Link project,
(iii) any other documents in relation to the Perth Freight Link project provided to Infrastructure Australia by the Western Australian Government, and
(iv) any assessment of the proposed Perth Freight Link undertaken by Infrastructure Australia, including the priority of this project as compared to other projects.