Spend Roe 8 fund on ports

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Nationals WA Senate candidate Nick Fardell said the $1.6 billion Federal grant originally allocated to Perth’s cancelled Roe 8 freight bypass should be spent upgrading regional ports such as Geraldton.

“Bunbury, Geraldton and other ports regionally deserve to have the focus put on them,” he said.

“Oakajee Port never came off so it’s time to capitalise the Port here and as you do that you could do that with other ports regionally.

“Then they will be able to close the Fremantle Port if that’s what the State Government wants.”

Mr Fardell said much of the freight shipped from regional ports was agricultural product.

“If we can guarantee our farmers access to ports through Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany, Karratha, that takes away the problem for the people of Fremantle who would rather probably sip on their lattes,” he said.

Mr Fardell said the Commonwealth funding originally allocated to Roe 8 presented an opportunity to WA’s regions.

“Ask the people regionally where it needs to be spent and then co-ordinate that effort to allow access to the ports,” he said.

“That will generate the lovely three-word slogan of jobs and growth regionally.”

The WA and Federal Governments reached an agreement in May 2017 to reallocate the unspent $1.6 billion the Barnett State Government intended use for the Roe 8 freight link to Fremantle Port. It is now part of a $2.3 billion State-Federal package to be spent on 17 other road and rail infrastructure projects which are mostly in the metropolitan area.

The package also includes $1.2 billion for Metronet projects and $44.2 million for regional roads. Much of the money is to be spent this financial year.

The Federal Budget also contains a $1.2 billion contingency allocation to be spent on a Fremantle freight link should a future WA Government decide to proceed.

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