Squabble over Romeo Rd funding pledge

Pearce MHR Christian Porter says Bill Shorten’s Romeo Rd funding pledge is an empty promise but the City of Wanneroo has welcomed it. Picture: Anita McInnes

WHILE the City of Wanneroo has welcomed Bill Shorten’s funding pledge for Romeo Rd it has been rubbished by Pearce MHR Christian Porter.

In a sign of what voters could face in the lead up to the next federal election as both sides of politics try to discredit or outdo each other  Mr Porter said Mr Shorten’s Romeo Rd announcement was just another fly-in Labor promise that would be broken on the fly-out.

“These fly in, fly out pledges are becoming Labor’s standard model for scamming votes out of Western Australia,” he said.

While in WA last week federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten committed $108 million for the extension of the Mitchell Fwy to Romeo Rd if Labor is successful at the next federal election.

City of Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the city had been strongly advocating for the extension of the freeway through to Romeo Rd for a number of years.

“Delivery of this desperately needed infrastructure will unlock the economic development potential for the region and connect residents in our most northern suburbs of Alkimos, Yanchep and Two Rocks to the greater Perth area,’’ she said.

“This northern coastal growth corridor alone is expected to welcome 85,000 more residents over the next 18 years, representing more than half (53 per cent) of the city’s total expected growth.

“We are aware that improved infrastructure will deliver much needed local jobs, therefore we look forward to the timely approval of the business case, allocation of funding, and successful delivery of this important project.”

But Mr Porter said Labor’s leaders had a long history of fly-in, fly-out infrastructure promises.

“They fly in with promises of hundreds of millions worth of distant future infrastructure then fly out – never actually delivering a cent after an election,’’ he said.

“In 2007 Kevin Rudd promised a WA infrastructure fund of $100m a year. It never happened, WA never saw a cent.

“In 2010 Wayne Swan promised a $2 billion WA infrastructure fund. It never happened, WA never saw a cent.

“Bill Shorten was a senior member of these Labor governments that did not deliver a single cent of the infrastructure money they promised – this is the same scam, just a different year.”

Cr Roberts said the announcement followed last month’s release of Infrastructure Australia’s latest annual report which highlighted the need for the state and federal governments to invest in key congestion-busting projects including extending the Mitchell Fwy north and extension of the Joondalup rail line to Yanchep.

Mr Porter said Labor’s latest tactic was just a distraction from the real fight to get actual money in an actual Budget for the important road project.

He said he and Moore MHR Ian Goodenough had been fighting for real federal funding to extend the freeway to Romeo Rd.

“Bill Shorten is on a spending spree – the question people need to ask is how will Labor fund this latest cash splash?

“Labor wants to increase taxes by more than $200b – that’s $8000 a person.

“Bill Shorten’s latest tax grab is to take $56b from retirees, low income earners and pensioners.

“Labor can’t be trusted to manage your money and they can’t be trusted to deliver the major road upgrades that our local community needs.

“The truth is Labor don’t care how long people who actually live in the northern suburbs have to spend in traffic everyday – we saw that when Labor scrapped the $74m widening of the Mitchell Fwy southbound last year.

He said the Turnbull Government was strongly committed to delivering real funding for real infrastructure in the area without increasing taxes.

“The Liberal Government has committed $6.8b from 2013-14 to 2020-21 towards infrastructure projects in WA, including $715m this financial year (2017-18).’’