Davies calls for Saffioti to meet Walkaway people

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Leader of the Nationals WA Mia Davies. File picture: Kelsey Reid
Camera IconLeader of the Nationals WA Mia Davies. File picture: Kelsey Reid Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

WA Nationals leader Mia Davies has called on WA Transport minister Rita Saffioti to meet the people of Walkaway and Moonyoonooka and hear their concerns about the proposed Geraldton bypass corridor.

“There’s frustration that there’s not any certainty or information being provided,” she said.

“They are very unhappy about how they found out about the announcement and there’s been very poor communication with them since.

“They’re not things that are hard to rectify and what would make a big difference is if the minister herself actually took the time to come and meet with these residents.”

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Ms Davies comments came after she met about 10 Arthur Road residents at Walkaway Town Hall on Thursday at Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney’s request.

She said the residents were unhappy with the Main Roads consultation process.

“There might not be very many of them but we’re talking about their livelihoods, their family homes, and it’s causing an enormous amount of distress,” she said.

“It’s not good enough to pick individual land owners off one by one and leave the community feeling confused and distressed, that’s not the way to do consultation.

“As a minister the buck stops with her.”

WA Transport minister Rita Saffioti said she took the opportunity to meet and discuss the preferred corridor with local government representatives in Geraldton in October.

“To make sure everyone gets to have their say on the proposed corridor we have extended consultation until the end of March,” she said.

“In the meantime, during the current consultation process, Main Roads is directly meeting with landowners who would be directly affected by the adoption of the preferred corridor.”

Ms Saffioti urged the Nationals to work with landowners and put forward proposals and alternatives if they wished to engage in the process.

“Other proposals, such as upgrades to Brand Highway, would also have impacts on private landowners,” she said.

“The “preferred route” released for community consultation was identified by Main Roads based on options analysis it has undertaken over several years, with much of that work taking place under the former government.”

Ms Saffioti said the planning study was a “necessary first step” toward delivering a solution to direct heavy freight traffic away from Dongara, Geraldton and Northampton town sites.

“I want to stress that we are a long way from a final Government decision on the corridor, and there is no money currently set aside for construction,” she said.

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