The State Government has moved to fulfil an election commitment to reinstate the proposed Fremantle eastern bypass as a future planning option.
Planning Minister Richard Lewis said Cabinet had approved the drafting of legislation to reverse last year's deletion of the bypass from the metropolitan region town planning scheme.
He said the actions of the previous Government in deleting the bypass were totally inconsistent with sound town planning principles and had been politically motivated.
The deletion was opposed by the Main Roads Department, the Department of Transport, the Fremantle Port Authority, and most local councils in the area.
The State Planning Commission also advised the previous Minister of its reservations, even though it had been directed to proceed with the amendment.
The bypass, proposed to connect Stirling Highway from its present junction at High Street with the Roe Highway, would take through-traffic off residential streets in Fremantle.
About 50 properties had already been acquired by the State Planning Commission for the project when the deletion occurred.
Mr Lewis said the acquisitions were made at the request of landowners and were part of the normal planning process, although no decision had been taken as to when the bypass might proceed.
"Our first concern is to restore planning stability by reinstating the proposal in the metropolitan region scheme," he said.
"More work will have to be done before a final decision is made, and this includes drawing together information from the various traffic surveys carried out in the past."
A taskforce with representatives from the Department of Planning and Urban Development, Main Roads Department, and local authorities would be established to examine all existing information and make recommendations to the Minister on a long-term transport strategy for the Fremantle coastal region.
Mr Lewis said that in planning terms, the road network in that part of the metropolitan region had been made seriously deficient by the deletion, and had jeopardised transport options.
His own views on the matter were well documented. In Opposition, Mr Lewis sponsored a Private Members Bill to disallow the deletion, but the Bill lapsed when the previous Government refused to act on it.
"We see this matter as urgent to restore stability to the road network, and have wasted no time moving to repair the damage caused by the previous Government through its political and irresponsible meddling with the metropolitan region scheme," he said.
The Coalition Government would also reinstate into the scheme the proposed extension of Roe Highway between Hampton Road and Marine Terrace. This option had been similarly deleted by the previous Government.
Media contact: Amanda O'Brien (09) 222 9595