Transport Minister Eric Charlton today accused the State Opposition of mischief-making and distorting figures in its attempt to discredit the Graham Farmer Freeway project.
"Here we have Alannah MacTiernan with the same tired old statements about a cost blow-out on this showpiece project when in fact everything is within expectations," Mr Charlton said.
"There is no blow out in construction costs and the Opposition knows it.
"The Graham Farmer Freeway is not simply a tunnel, it is a major piece of transport infrastructure which will link the Mitchell Freeway to Great Eastern Highway and allow Perth to redefine its future development by taking through traffic out of the city centre.
"The total cost of the Graham Farmer Freeway is set out in the State Budget at $407million and that figure includes overheads and the variations to the project which have been made along the way, including the Burswood Traffic Interchange.
"We are talking about a series of major interlocking projects with a design and construction phase of more than four years and all the Opposition can talk about is the tunnel through Northbridge.
"Alannah MacTiernan, in her normal cursory way has looked at what are perfectly transparent and anticipated figures and has had an attack of hysteria," he said.
Mr Charlton said that when the Graham Farmer Freeway project was announced in 1995 the construction cost was $335million with a rise and fall formula of $12million to cater for inflation prices for goods, labour and materials.
Main Roads WA administrative and management costs of $37.5million had now been calculated and added into the total project cost. This cost would be spread across the four and a half year duration of the project.
"It is important for people to understand that there have been $16million worth of major variations and additional land acquisitions to make the freeway safer and more efficient.
"These include the Burswood traffic interchange which will allow traffic to flow with greater ease at the Great Eastern Highway junction," he said.
"Other variations to the project include a major upgrade of the Lord Street crossing which will enhance public safety. These are all positive initiatives but naturally, they come at an additional cost," he said.
Mr Charlton said Alannah MacTiernan's assessment of the Graham Freeway Project painted a totally misleading picture.
"She cannot comprehend the huge community benefits which will flow from this project and she is out on a very lonely limb by trying to discredit the freeway," he said.
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