The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) and Western Roads Federation (WRF) have joined forces to call on the State Government and Opposition to stop using Roe 8 and Roe 9 as a political football and give bipartisan support to referring this major infrastructure project to Infrastructure WA as a priority.

As peak industry bodies, we have long called for Roe 8 and Roe 9 to be built to provide critical relief from crippling road congestion, boost productivity for businesses across the metropolitan area and improve safety outcomes for commuters by diverting more large freight vehicles off suburban roads.

Perth Freight Link, which includes Roe 8 and Roe 9, has been recognised since the 1950s as an important, strategic road project for WA’s transport network and recognised by Infrastructure Australia in 2016 as a high priority project.

CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said while we have been strong supporters of this project, it is clear that a circuit breaker is required.

“We are calling for Roe 8 and Roe 9 to be referred to Infrastructure WA, and its assessment prioritised, so that these projects can be independently assessed on their merits. That is why Infrastructure WA was established – to help take the politics out of how our State’s infrastructure needs are prioritised and support more robust decision-making,” Mr Rodwell said.

Critically, Infrastructure WA’s role is to provide a comprehensive view of the State’s infrastructure needs that considers the needs of all sectors, ‘including water, digital, health, energy, education, transport, cultural, recreational, justice, agriculture, housing, safety and environmental infrastructure’.

“It is crucial that this issue is resolved before the next State Election to ensure that WA businesses and the community at large have more clarity and certainty about the fate of these projects, particularly given Roe 8 and Roe 9 were not considered as part of Westport’s planning scope.”

WRF Chairman Craig Smith-Gander said this week’s release of Westport’s shortlist confirmed that the Roe 8 and Roe 9 corridor were not assessed as part of its technical studies because the State Government had ruled out building this project.

“Given a full technical assessment was not conducted, it is not possible for Westport to confidently state that these projects would not have featured on its shortlist and do not merit being built. Congestion around Fremantle Port is predominantly caused by increased passenger traffic, not trucks, so road upgrades are still required,” Mr Smith-Gander said.

“Our State can’t afford for infrastructure projects that support economic growth and job creation, like Roe 8 and Roe 9, to be held back by politics. Infrastructure WA is the appropriate, independent body to comprehensively assess these projects.”