Fork in the Roe

Fork in the Roe

The Riverton class of 2017: One Nation’s Tshung-Hui Chang, Flux’s Rob Redfearn, Julie Matheson for WA’s Gavin Waugh, Australian Christians’ Susan Regnard in the back and current Liberal member for Riverton Mike Nahan, Labor’s Marion Boswell and the Greens’ Thor Kerr. Photograph – Hamish Hastie.

Roe 8 was at the front of mind of both candidates and audience members at the Riverton candidates’ forum at All Saints College on Monday night.

The road has proven to be a divisive issue with the Labor Party and Liberal Party pledging to scrap it and push forward with it respectively.

When asked how her party would remove congestion from Leach Highway if it didn’t go ahead with Roe 8 Labor candidate for Riverton Marion Boswell said they would focus on rail.

“We believe that trucks should be off the road and all of their goods should be on rail lines,” she said.

“(Roe 8 is) infrastructure for the sale of Fremantle harbour and that’s the only reason it’s being built.

“We’re happy trying our very best trying to accommodate people and goods on our railway lines.”

She said Leach Highway would never be a country road again and she would advocate for something to be done about Shelley Bridge but did not elaborate how.

“We’ll never have Leach Highway as a country road again, we have to accept that,” she said.

“What we need to do is something I want to work on, do something about Shelley Bridge because that does cause a lot of problems.”

Current Member for Riverton Mike Nahan said the government had a mandate to build the road.

“I was elected in 2008 on the basis of the primary issue of building Roe 8. I was elected in 2013 on Roe 8,” he said.

“At the start of 2009 we invested $22million to undertake the most thorough review of every aspect…it’s all there.

”Infrastructure Australia has rated it as the most highly rated infrastructure project in Australia.

“It has gone through every possible hoop.

“It’s been planned for 50 years.

“We have a mandate and a responsibility to build the road and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”

Greens candidate Thor Kerr cited information obtained via freedom of information through former Federal Labor Member for Perth Allanah MacTiernan.

“She got a document from Main Roads which said and I quote, ‘the Roe 8 would lead to a marginal reduction in traffic volumes on Leach Highway’,” he said.

“So despite the story that Mike’s been peddling for many years Roe 8 is of no benefit and does not resolve the very valid traffic concerns of myself, my family, my friends and the other people in the electorate.

“As a result of that Main Roads says we need better and safer intersections we also need better and faster forms of public transport.”

One Nation candidate Tshung-Hui Chang said if elected they would honour the Roe 8 project despite previous reports the party did not support it.

“One Nation won’t be tearing up any contracts, the moment you start tearing up contracts you expose yourselves to sovereign risk,” he said.

“We are going to go ahead with Roe 8, we will think about Roe 9 because budget repair is needed but Roe 8 is needed.”

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