Media Release for Save Beeliar Wetlands campaign group

Media Release for Save Beeliar Wetlands (SBW) campaign group

Background: The Federal Liberal Government has announced plans to support the State Government to force a toll highway through Perth’s southern suburbs from Kwinana Fwy to Fremantle Port, destroying 97ha of North and Bibra Lakes sensitive wetlands, cutting down significant trees and bushland in Coolbellup, Hamilton Hill and Hilton and closing many local roads in the southern suburbs. The 1.6 billion dollar tollway would be WA’s first user pays highway, with the Federal Govt kicking in nearly 0.9 billion dollars of Federal money tied to the sale of WA State assets.

Reponse: As Roe 8 is currently subject to an environmental appeals process which is still ongoing the Save Beeliar Wetlands group calls on the WA State Government to take a step back and publicly reconsider the wider picture of freight transport movement in the metropolitan area,  SBW’s community campaigner Kate Kelly says:

“by stating that the Roe 8 highway extension will go ahead ‘as soon as environmental approval process is finished’ this State Government through its agency the EPA has abused its own environmental assessment processes and lost the trust of the West Australian public.”

“given that Fremantle Port capacity is limited and an outer harbor at Kwinana is planned where is the cost benefit analysis for this short sighted freight transport plan”

“with its funding tied to state assets WA people will pay many times over for this tollway. They will pay when their state assets are sold, they will pay to privatise the construction as this will be far more pricey than a government run project, and they will pay more for a road rather than rail and they will pay every time they use the tollway. They and their children will pay even more for their health because diesel particulates, a class 1 carcinogen, from trucks pouring through suburban neighborhoods, is a real concern for people in the area.”

“the tollway would entrench congestion for people in Perth’s southern suburbs forever as local roads would need to close – more roads means more congestion and more pollution not less. Because there is no proper freight network plan for the whole of Perth the inevitable sight of ambulances parked on tollways will be the legacy of a government unable to take up proven rail solutions because of ideology rather than reason”

“If we update Perth’s Freight Network Review we can keep our wetlands and urban parks, keep local roads open and solve congestion issues because putting freight onto rail works: its smarter, much cheaper and safer.”

“any threat to the wetland, its birds and wildlife will be met with widespread civil disobedience. Any private developer hoping to build this tollway should prepare themselves, as in such circumstances ordinary citizens are willing to take extraordinary actions.”

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