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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 July 2006

Planning Minister hypocrisy exposed over ports comments


The biggest threat to the future of Western Australia’s ports is Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan and the State Labor Government, Western Australian Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Senator Campbell said Ms MacTiernan’s comments that infrastructure funding would decline if sea ports were controlled by the Commonwealth were grossly hypocritical given that her decisions were preventing the growth of two of the State’s biggest ports – Fremantle and Bunbury.

They also ignored the Australian Government’s $1.67 billion contribution to land transport funding and infrastructure projects in WA announced in the Federal Budget in May.

“It was Minister MacTiernan who stopped the construction of the Fremantle Eastern Bypass and Stage 8 of the Roe Highway, roads planned for more than 40 years to provide an efficient and safe link to handle the growth in freight traffic to and from the Fremantle Port,” Senator Campbell said.

“The scrapping of these transport corridors has restricted the port’s capacity to expand – there’s only so much freight traffic local roads can handle. This was a decision of Ms MacTiernan and the Labor Government taken purely for political reasons at the expense of good, safe road planning and the future growth of Fremantle Port.”

Senator Campbell said Ms MacTiernan’s opposition to building and funding much-needed roads also was standing in the way of the expansion of the Bunbury Port.

“The Commonwealth has committed $170 million towards the construction of the Perth to Bunbury Highway, providing the work starts by the end of this year. This long-overdue road will, among other significant benefits, aid the expansion of the Bunbury Port by providing extra capacity for freight transport and cutting travel times,” Senator Campbell said.

“However, despite knowing in June 2005 that Australian Government environmental law required a Commonwealth environmental assessment of the project, it took Ms MacTiernan 11 months to provide us with the necessary documents to start this process.

“If Ms MacTiernan had not stalled on this project, work could have been underway six months ago,” he said.

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia