Engineering, Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail, Passenger Rail

McGowan tells Roe 8 workers to stay at home

Perth Freight Link. Graphic: MainRoads WA

WA Premier-elect Mark McGowan has made the cancellation of a $450 million contract to kick off the controversial Perth Freight Link toll road his immediate focus.

The contract to design and construct the Roe 8 project – a 5-kilometre extension of the Roe Highway in Perth’s south – was awarded to a private sector consortium in October 2016.

Roe 8 is controversial because it goes through a biodiverse section of wetlands.

But it is also the first stage of the Perth Freight Link, a project which has also been challenged on logistical grounds by many stakeholders, including the Labor Party at both a state and federal level.

McGowan signalled prior to the election that a WA Labor Government would terminate the Roe 8 deal.

It is currently contracted to a consortium of CPB Contractors, Georgiou, WA Limestone, GHD, AECOM and BG&E.

WA Labor’s announcement was criticised heavily by the Federal Coalition Government, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying the $1.2 billion in Commonwealth funding would not be allowed to be spent elsewhere.

Despite this, an undeterred McGowan confirmed Roe 8 will be cancelled on a Perth radio station on Monday, after his party won Saturday’s election in a landslide.

“When we’re sworn-in we’ll confirm the decision not to proceed with Roe 8,” McGowan told 6PR.

“I’m happy to go and speak to workers.”

McGowan reportedly believes the contract can be terminated for $30 million.

His next challenge will be convincing a Liberal PM to let him have that $1.2 billion in Commonwealth funding for WA Labor’s infrastructure plan, Metronet.

The $3 billion Metronet plan is a series of major urban rail projects, starting with an extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep.

Turnbull was adamant before the election that the federal money would go back to the Commonwealth if it was not spent on the toll road.

“If any future state government in Western Australia were to decide not to proceed with this project then obviously the money allocated to that project would no longer be available,” he said in February.