Perth Karel Ave Press Conference

Alan Tudge: Very warm welcome to Country. Standing in the smoke there I know I’m going to smell good all day. It's great to be here with Rita Saffioti as well as Ben Morton the local Member for Tangney, one of my colleagues in Canberra.

And also with Yaz Mubarakai, the state member, as well as Peter Martin the CEO of Coburn City here as well. And this project of the Karel Avenue Upgrade is a great partnership between the three levels of government - between the federal, the state and the local government.

It’s a $29 million upgrade to Karel Avenue and Minister Saffioti will go through some of the details of it, of which we've put in $19 million at the federal level and the state and the local councils have each putting five million dollars.

This project is important for both direct reasons and indirect reasons. Directly, it creates 200 jobs and it will save local residents 70 per cent of their time in the morning and in the peak traffic. So a real direct congestion busting project that this project is going to deliver. But it also has indirect benefits in terms of it becomes a really important route down to the Jandakot industrial estate, which in the future there will be 8000 jobs there and 300 businesses. So that's a great industrial estate that’s going to be growing into the future and this road is of course going to be important for that.

It's also important for the future development of the Metronet, which is a huge project which the state and federal governments are jointly funding and really will create a backbone for this city over the next 30, 40, 50 years so this is a critical project for that development as well.

I’ll probably also- I mean, it would be remiss of me not to also point out that initially of course, this particular project, the Karel Avenue Upgrade was on the original designs for Roe 8 and while the State Government unfortunately didn't want to proceed with that, we at the federal level of course, would still like to see that underway.

We've got $1.2 billion remaining on the table. We want to see the job done. I know that the residents locally want to see the job done because it would take 7000 trucks off the South Perth roads, even the unions want to see it done.

So we'll be continuing to prosecute the case in relation to Roe 8 and 9 being built. But overall, this project is a terrific project. It's good for jobs, it's good for local businesses, it's good for residents and it is another great project where state, federal and local governments are working together to bust congestion and make Perth an even better place to live.

Rita Saffioti: Thank you, it's a great pleasure to be here on yet another road project commencing across WA. This was an election commitment we took to the last election and we knew that this was a bottleneck, that it was getting worse and the congestion was ever increasing.

So with Yaz, we made an election commitment to fix this project. Since the election of course, working with the Federal Government, together with the City of Coburn and also with Jandakot Airports, we are now able to deliver a significant project $29 million.

That will see the duplication of Karel Avenue it will be a new bridge over Roe. It will be the widening and lengthening of this bridge over the rail line. Importantly, it started with the Thornlie-Cockburn link, in the sense that the bridge will be widened to facilitate the extra train line of the Metronet program. This will create jobs and it also facilitate, as the Federal Minister said, the continued expansion of the Jandakot Airport District.

So a really important project. A project that helps local communities and really if anyone drove it this morning, they know the serious congestion on that area. It's a 70 per cent time saving once the project’s completed. This project together with other projects in the area, including the Armadale Road duplication. The new Armadale Road, North Lake Bridge the widening of the freeway, the smart freeways is a significant investment in reducing congestion and improving safety in the southern suburbs and we are very keen to continue to work on projects that deliver real benefits. Thank you very much.

Question: Minister any comments and reaction to the comments reaction that?

Alan Tudge: We will just let the federal Member and maybe the State member say a couple of words as well and also of course the CEO of the council.

Ben Morton: Thank you Ministers, in politics, it isn't always about disagreement. And here we are on a project that we agree because it's very important to both Yaz’ community and to my community. It's great to see the Federal Minister and the State Minister here for the sod turning today on this project which is very, very important to our local community.

For me personally, as the Federal Minister made very clear, this is the most eastern part of the Roe 8 extension. This was a project that was part of the Roe 8, Roe 9 extension and will serve for a future extension, when a future government accesses the $1.2 billion that's available to build Roe 8 and Roe 9. Roe 8 and Roe 9 is very supported in the local community here south of the river. It will take significant cars and trucks off local roads. When there is $1.2 billion available to the State Government to build Roe 8 and Roe 9, I think Western Australians expect the State Government to look at ways in which that funding can be accessed.

Now let me just point out a few other projects that are currently underway that would have formed part of the Roe 8, Roe 9 project. This project would have been part of Roe 8 and Roe 9. The Murdoch Connect project obviously is occurring on land where the Roe 8 project would have gone across and there is funding and partnership working with the State Government on Stirling Highway, South Street interchange as well.

One point too, despite the Federal Government agreeing to the funding for these three projects - part of Roe 8 and Roe 9 - the full $1.2 billion remains available to the State Government to make our local community safer here in the Southern Perth area, to also create much needed jobs that’s there now.

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the Prime Minister have made it very clear that that $1.2 billion is available and I would encourage the State Government to access it. I've made it very clear that the objectives of that funding is to get cars and trucks from the Roe Kwinana interchange through to the commencement of the existing four lane Stirling Highway at Fremantle golf course, without passing through a single set of traffic lights.

I encourage the state Government, if they don't like the design that was proposed by the Barnett Government, they should at least look at design changes, small changes to the design that achieves the exact same objective, because this is a project that's much needed in the southern suburbs.

Rita Saffioti: Any questions?

Question: Yeah, more Aboriginal names, please.

[Laughter]

Question: Any reaction to what they just said about Roe 8?

Rita Saffioti: I think it's unfortunate that what is meant to be a celebration of a new project where there's Commonwealth and state agreement, that it becomes hijacked into a political stunt. So, I'm here wanting to build roads and get on with it, reduce congestion. This is a key election commitment. That's what I'm focused on. I'll let these guys do the political stance and I'm here wanting to get on with work.

Question: Is it the case that when the [indistinct] of Roe 8?

Rita Saffioti: On Roe 8?

Question: Yeah, no where the one of the maps of Roe 8 and 9 I think, oh wait sorry Roe 9?

Rita Saffioti: Well look, I don’t want to go into the detail of it. I mean I'll go through and I can go through all the reasons why we're not doing it. In particular, that was a major election commitment. In particular, that was putting freight on rail and all those other aspects. But I'm here wanting to talk about Karel Avenue. Like I said I don't think these sort of project announcements should be hijacked for political stunts.

Any other questions of the day?

Question: Yeah, can you tell us about the radical greens group that has threatened to take over the streets of Perth? Is that a worry?

Rita Saffioti: Well look, we support peaceful protests, but I sometimes believe that when people go too far they actually hinder the cause. So I would always say peaceful protests. Put your views across but we don't want any interruptions in relation to how people go about their daily lives. As I said, I really believe that sometimes people hinder their cause. Make your point of view, put the case forward. And of course we know that climate change is a serious issue. But make sure that it's done in a respectful way.

Question: Should commuters…

Alan Tudge: Can I say something about this too? That some of these feral groups have been disrupting cities across the world and in my view, if they're disrupting cities and they're breaking the law, then I hope the police are there to charge them.

And we respect people who can protest peacefully, but they shouldn't be disrupting people who are getting on with their ordinary lives, they shouldn't be breaking the law, and they should be held to account if they are doing so. I mean we've got a very strong policy in relation to climate change. We've got a 50 per cent per capita reduction by 2026. We will meet that target. We've got more renewables per capita coming into this country than any other country in the world over the decade ahead. S

o our record is there, the delivery will be there and we want to get on with the job. And I think everyday people across Perth or any other city in this great country want to get about their business without some of these feral’ interrupting them.

Question: Alan, can you commit to that there won’t be a toll on Roe 8?

Alan Tudge: Well, this will be up to the state Government in terms of what they choose to do. I mean in relation to that project- and we are talking about Karel Avenue as great project which we're jointly doing together, $29 million which we're putting in 19 and the state and councils each putting in five.

But on Roe 8 and 9, we do want to see this road built and we will continue to prosecute the case for it. In relation to tolls that's ultimately up to the state Government in terms of what they decide to do on that.

Question: Did you discuss with the state Opposition on this matter?

Alan Tudge: I'll be meeting up with the state Opposition leader later today and we'll be discussing a full range of things. But inevitably this will come up as well.

Question: Mr Tudge, can I ask you about something Andrew Hastie has said in relation to China? He said that Australia is facing an unprecedented economic and security test and he's likened the approach to China to the failure to prevent the rise of Nazi Germany.

Alan Tudge: Yeah, I'll leave commentary in relation to that to the Prime Minister today. I believe he's doing some media or the Foreign Affairs Minister.

Question: I’ve got a question to the Transport Minister. Should Perth commuters be concerned about these protestors?

Rita Saffioti: Well I’ll get an update from my transport agencies in relation to this, but like I said hopefully it's done respectfully and there's not a lot of interruption. But I'll get further advice from my transport agencies.

Question: Do you know whether the Premier will be responding directly to their demands?

Rita Saffioti: The Premier’s on his way to COAG, so he is out of range at the moment but I will find that out later today. But as I said, he's on his way to COAG and it's a long trip up to Cairns.

Question: Minister, do you have any comments in relation to Andrew Hastie’s comments on China? He’s referring to what he sees as a delicate diplomatic balancing act. Is WA in a difficult position, given its strategic value of its trading relationship with China?

Rita Saffioti: All I say is that WA's economy is or that China plays a big role in the WA economy. And a lot of jobs in Western Australia rely on a productive relationship with China. So, we've always been very keen to make sure that we have good relations with our export partners like China, like Japan, growing in India. So we're really keen to continue to have strong relations because WA’s economy, WA jobs and WA families rely on that relationship.

Question: With the boat fire yesterday. Do you have any update on the state of that investigation what caused it or anything like that?

Rita Saffioti: No sorry I don't have that update but we'll try and get some information for you today.