On the road to jobs — and less congestion
The Federal Government’s $1.6b commitment to WA transport infrastructure has been welcomed by CCIWA and the State’s peak road transport industry body.
But both organisations agree more needs to be done to ensure the State is not left behind in Malcolm Turnbull’s nation-building programs.
On Sunday, the Federal and State Governments announced they’d spend $2.3b on a road and rail infrastructure package; $1.6b from the Federal Government and $745m from State coffers, including 17 new road projects that will generate 6000 jobs.
Two projects — the $118m Leach Highway Upgrade of High Street, between Carrington Street and Stirling Highway, and the $100m extension of Murdoch Drive to Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway — are pivotal to improving traffic flow following the Labor Government’s scrapping of the contentious Roe 8 project.
CCIWA CEO Deidre Wilmott says the joint infrastructure program was good for WA business in two ways; job creation for the contractors involved, and the reduction in travel times for people and freight.
She hopes it signifies further Federal support for WA as new national programs are rolled out in future years.
“The Federal Government says it wants to have an ambitious infrastructure plan for the nation,” she says.
“WA needs to be a part of that — we generate more than 40 per cent of the nation’s exports and we depend on quality infrastructure to do so.
“Investing in the future of Perth is not only of benefit to WA, but also for our nation. We need a strong, resilient city on our west coast.”
|Cam Dumesny, WA Road Transport Association
Cam Dumesny, Executive Officer of the WA Road Transport Association, says the budget highlights the need for the State to have a body such as Infrastructure WA, as pledged by WA Labor, “to get business cases for priority WA projects so we can submit them to the Federal Government”.
For instance, more funding is urgently needed for degraded regional roads that are vital to the nation’s economic interest, he says.
In the meantime, the Leach Highway Upgrade in the current program will be good for all road users, particularly the freight industry which will enjoy better landside access to Fremantle Port.
About half the cost of shipping a container of freight to Asia is “literally getting it on to a ship in Fremantle”, he says.
“We need projects such as the Leach Highway upgrade to help make us more globally competitive,” he says.
WA’s road transport industry is estimated to employ more than 30,000 people and generate $9.36b a year.