Back to All News

The damning senate inquiry report into the Perth Freight Link

Video & Multimedia
Scott Ludlam 3 May 2016

I thank Senator Sterle for the courtesy but also for the way in which he chaired this inquiry. This is a unanimous report and I think it is highly significant that those coalition senators who did bother to attend one of the hearings have not submitted a dissent or a minority report—in other words, we have a unanimous report that condemns, in the strongest possible language, a government appropriation which will be in tonight's budget of more than $1 billion of Commonwealth funds for a road to nowhere.


This report buries the case for the Perth Freight Link once and for all. It became clear during our work why the Barnett government was so desperate to hide the business case and to hide the assumptions that went into the cost-benefit analysis. This project is desperately flawed and completely unworkable. It is now turning into such an electoral liability that even the coalition senators who participated were unwilling to defend it.

When Mr Turnbull visited Western Australia only a couple of weeks ago he was very happy to take selfies on public transport. It is almost as though any time he rides on public transport, which is wonderful, he sees the need to document it. I guess that is fine, but in Perth we had the Abbott government cancel out of all public transport funding and just kill it stone dead. Instead, we have this behemoth of four to six lanes of tarmac proposed to be bulldozed through a wetland and obliterate more than 100 hectares of banksia woodland.

This report makes the case and brings the evidence together for the very first time that there is no need for this road and also there are viable alternatives. There is another way. Fremantle Port Authority records show and the evidence in this report shows that the port of Fremantle will be at capacity at about the time that the Perth Freight Link is meant to come online. However, the government intends to actually get it into the port of Fremantle. We did hear evidence, coherently and cogently put for the first time, by groups like the Kwinana Industries Council and the cities of Kwinana, Rockingham, Cockburn and Fremantle that there is another way and that what is needed now is proper rigorous assessment of an overflow port in Cockburn Sound, which will provide a durable and scalable solution to Perth's freight task.

I want to thank everybody who was involved in this report. I thank Senator Sterle again for the courtesy of giving me a few minutes to make some comments on this report. The government needs to think twice.

Back to All News