The Federal Liberal Party is urging premier-elect Mark McGowan to ditch his promise to axe the Perth Freight Link, saying the weekend election proves there is support across the city’s southern suburbs for the project.
Federal member for Tangney, Ben Morton, said yesterday he would welcome a backdown by the McGowan government on the $1.9 billion PFL. There are five southern Perth seats directly affected by the freight link.
WA Labor picked up the previously Liberal-held seat of Bicton with a near-12 per cent swing on a two-party preferred vote.
Labor sliced 12.9 per cent from the Liberal Party’s margin in Bateman and 7.7 per cent in the seat of Riverton, held by former treasurer Mike Nahan. In Fremantle, Labor’s Simone McGurk increased her margin to 23.7 per cent from 15.4 per cent
In Willagee, Labor’s Peter Tinley tightened his grip on the seat to 15.8 per cent from 2.5 per cent.
While large, the swings are short of the type experienced in northern suburb seats such as Wanneroo (18.7 per cent), Morley (16.4 per cent) or Butler (18.7 per cent).
Mr Morton, a former WA Liberal Party director, said while there had been swings to Labor in the southern suburbs, they were not of the same magnitude as those in the north.
He said there was still support for PFL that had to be recognised by the incoming government.
“Labor had below average swings to them in these southern seats,” he said. “Labor needs to consider that there is support for the freight link and what it might mean to lose $1.2 billion in Federal funding for important infrastructure.”
Mr McGowan vowed Labor would axe the project despite the cost of ending contracts.
“The electorate surrounding that road voted emphatically against that and we will proceed with our mandate, which is not to proceed with that road,” he said.
Apart from opposing the project, Labor has several big ticket pledges funded by freeing up cash that was promised to the freight link. They include a plan in the nearby seat of Jandakot to bring forward the duplication of the Armadale Road.
And road projects in the northern suburbs, including the Wanneroo Road overpass at Ocean Reef Road, depend on axing the freight link.