The Perth Freight Link has been defeated, and the Beeliar Wetlands protected, following a sustained community campaign and work from the Greens. This campaign ensured the income ALP government in WA had no choice but to abandon the project.
What was the project?
The Perth Freight Link was a $1.6 billion project to construct 14km of freight freeway through our communities and bushland, including the “Roe 8” extension through Beeliar Wetlands.
This senseless road would have permanently destroyed a 5km green corridor containing endangered Banksia woodland, wildlife habitat and Aboriginal heritage sites, all too precious to lose.
Environmental approvals for the Roe 8 section of the Perth Freight Link were granted, building contracts awarded to Leighton Contractors, and former Premier Colin Barnett began work on the project, clearing parts of Beeliar. The WA Government had consistently hidden details about the project, refuses to release the business case, and yet the state and federal governments have committed $1.6 billion of taxpayer's money with no detailed plans or analysis. Premier Barnett refused to attend the Senate Inquiry or allow Main Roads officials to provide answers to the questions and concerns from locals and stakeholders.
Why fight for the wetlands
More than 80% of Perth’s wetlands have been lost. We cannot afford to lose anymore.
The Beeliar wetlands is an important haven for at least 134 species of bird, four native mammals, two introduced mammals, eight amphibians, 20 reptiles and a , diverse range of plant species in the Perth metropolitan area.
Roe 8 will put endangered species like the Carnaby Cockatoo at further risk. The Beeliar Wetlands also host international migratory birds that are protected under International Government Agreements. This unique and sensitive biodiversity of the area cannot be recreated through offsets.
The area is also of great historic and ongoing cultural significance to the Noongar community. There are registered archaeological and mythological sites in North and Bibra Lakes that any alignment of Roe 8 will destroy. In 2003, the EPA said “It has been identified as being the most significant historical site, within the Perth metropolitan region, south of the Swan River”. North Lake and Bibra Lake have interim listing on the National Estate of the Australian Heritage Commission because of their environmental and heritage significance.
This affects all of Perth
The Perth Freight Link will be Perth’s first toll road. This will set a precedent for other road projects in WA and it is sure not to be the last toll road Western Australians can expect if it goes ahead.
Roe 8 will also increase our carbon emissions and diesel particulate pollution.
Mixing heavy freight vehicles with private vehicles also adds to safety concerns that could be avoided if more freight was moved by rail or an outer harbour was constructed so that freight circled the city rather than went through it.
As well as putting our metropolitan biodiversity and heritage at risk, this unnecessary road to nowhere is taking much needed state and federal funds from much more necessary public transport projects.
In the same week they awarded the Perth Freight Link project, the Barnett Government cancelled a $1.2 billion order for additional train carriages. These additional train carriages would have a far greater impact on reducing congestion than the Perth Freight Link.
The Max Light Rail and rail extension to Perth Airport and Forrestfield have also been put on hold while they push ahead with this road to nowhere.
What We Do Know about the Freight Link
· It will lead to a four-fold increase in the number of trucks on our roads, with truck traffic in Fremantle and surrounding suburbs increasing from 3000 a day to 13,000 a day.
· It is contrary to decades of regional planning and shelves plans for the Outer Harbour.
· It undermines the aspirations to get at least 30% of freight on rail.
· It will be WAs first toll road.
· It will increase greenhouse gas emissions and deadly diesel particulate pollution.
· It will hurt businesses along Stock Road who will end up with a freeway at their door.
· There are over 30 community groups, 4 local councils, numerous industry groups and thousands of WA residents who are part of the growing opposition to this road.
Here are submissions made to the first EPA appeal back in 2013.