Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Talks with Busselton shire council help resolve problems about road priorities

    2/02/1998 12:00 AM



    Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today he had held successful talks with the Busselton Shire Council and any misunderstandings over road priorities in the district had been resolved.


    "The Busselton council reiterated to me during my visit to the South-West last Wednesday that construction of the Busselton Bypass was the community's number one priority," Mr Charlton said.


    "The Government is aware of this position and is committed to its construction.


    "I told the council that the Government had allocated funding of $16.9 million for the bypass, with work scheduled to start no later than 2001-2002.


    "I also told them that we will continue to pursue every avenue in an effort to bring the construction date forward.


    "We have already spent almost $3million on land acquisition and planning for the bypass, an indication of the importance this Government has always placed on the project.


    "There had been some misunderstanding over scheduling of improvements to the remaining section of the Bussell Highway and I re-stated to the council that extending the dual carriageway was planned for no later than January 1, 2001.


    "It is now clear that the council has never officially called for the Bussell Highway project to be deferred in favour of the bypass.


    "The program was set back because of a series of debates involving community groups, including local representatives, who wanted all available funds directed to the bypass project.


    "It is also clear that media statements attributed to the council's chief executive, Michael Swift, were in line with the council's official position.


    "It is unfortunate that the Bussell Highway issue became a squabble in the media, because in fact the council and the Government have been working towards the same goal.


    "I gave the council an undertaking that urgent rehabilitation work on the existing section of the carriageway would be carried out over the next two years, with work beginning next month.


    "This Government has never diverted funding away from the Bussell Highway project and the council now accepts this."


    Mr Charlton said he had always enjoyed a good working relationship with the Busselton Shire Council and its chief executive, Michael Swift, and that had been underlined by the success of last Wednesday's meeting.


    "The Busselton Bypass and the dualling of Bussell Highway will both proceed at the earliest possible date and we underline the importance of receiving the co-operation of the Busselton community as we work towards making these crucial road improvements happen," he said.


    Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333