Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss has again refused to provide matching funding for the much-needed $450million Perth to Bunbury Highway.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said Mr Truss had made it clear this morning that nothing was negotiable in the so-called ‘AusLink Agreement’.
“But Western Australian motorists can be assured that while WA will not accept this dud deal - we will have the road under construction by December 2006,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“We will continue to fight over the next two years for a proper commitment from the Federal Government.
“Mr Truss made it very clear that he was following this plan of action at the urging of WA Federal Government members such as Don Randall and Ian Campbell.
“I find it extraordinary that while the State Government has managed to find the additional funding to ensure the project can be built in one stage, Canberra cannot find matching funding from its record $13billion surplus.
“It is even more extraordinary that our Federal Liberal representatives are demanding that the Federal Government keep supporting the great WA rip-off.”
Ms MacTiernan said the State Government would sign an AusLink agreement, but make it clear that Canberra’s conditional funding agreement for the Perth to Bunbury Highway would not be in that agreement.
“We have 22 per cent of the national road transport network, but get just 7.4 per cent of national road funding,” she said.
The Minister said the State Government would start building the highway from next year.
“We are getting on with the job of building the highway,” she said.
“But how far we get and how long it takes will depend on whether the Federal Government comes up with a better deal for WA.
“During the next two years, we will vigorously campaign for a better deal from Canberra and put real pressure on John Howard’s WA-based MPs such as Don Randall and Ian Campbell.
“As the Federal election comes closer, we will be making it clear that Mr Randall and Senator Campbell have failed to get a fair share of funding for WA.”
Minister's Office - 9213 6400