It’s an elephant in the room that politicians just can’t ignore… The name of the elephant is called “Build Roe 8 & 9”.
During today’s joint press conference on the upgrade of Karel Avenue, the topic of Roe 8 & 9 remains the focus as the Federal Government continues to emphasis that the money is there.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge says the $1.2 billion funds are available for WA to allow the construction of Roe 8.
Liberal MP Ben Morton also made his case in front of the press, stating that it’s important for Roe 8 & 9 to be built.
“The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the Prime Minister have made it very clear that that $1.2 billion is available and I would encourage the State Government to access it,” Mr Morton said.
“I’ve made it very clear that the objectives of that funding is to get cars and trucks from the Roe Kwinana interchange through to the commencement of the existing four lane Stirling Highway at Fremantle golf course, without passing through a single set of traffic lights.”
“I encourage the state Government, if they don’t like the design that was proposed by the Barnett Government, they should at least look at design changes, small changes to the design that achieves the exact same objective, because this is a project that’s much needed in the southern suburbs.”
WA Minister For Transport Rita Saffioti rejected the suggestions, responded by saying the press conference has been ‘highacked into a political stunt’.
“I think it’s unfortunate that what is meant to be a celebration of a new project where there’s Commonwealth and state agreement, that it becomes hijacked into a political stunt,” Ms Saffioti said.
“So, I’m here wanting to build roads and get on with it, reduce congestion. This is a key election commitment. That’s what I’m focused on. I’ll let these guys do the political stance and I’m here wanting to get on with work.”
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey has been fighting for Roe 8 & 9 to be built for the last 15 years.
With the potential option of upgrading the Leach Highway on the cards, Mr Aubrey rejected the ideas saying it will cost jobs and some local residents their homes.
He believe that the state government has been ‘dragged screaming into a situation when they have to build the extension of Roe Highway’.
“Roe Highway will never go away because there is no viable alternative to it, either on environmental grounds or on financial grounds,” Mr Auburey said.
“Roe Highway provides the solution for the freight problem within the greater Perth area, it also provides the outcome for Melville, Cockburn, Fremantle and East Fremantle to create a bypass.”
“It alleviates our community with all the impacts of heavy traffic.”
But when it comes to whether the Roe 8 & 9 will ever be a toll road, Minister Tudge says its up to the State Government to decide.
He also says the matter will be discussed with the current Liberal Opposition in WA.
“But on Roe 8 and 9, we do want to see this road built and we will continue to prosecute the case for it. In relation to tolls that’s ultimately up to the state Government in terms of what they decide to do on that,” he said.
“I’ll be meeting up with the state Opposition leader later today and we’ll be discussing a full range of things. But inevitably this will come up as well.”