"The Roe 8 issue has gone beyond the building of a road and destruction of wetlands. The project has become one of the worst failures of government and law in the history of this State. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure this never, ever happens again." - Piers Verstegen, Conservation Council of WA Director
By working together as a community we stopped Roe 8. Now we need to make sure the new government fixes our environmental laws and policies, not just the wetlands and bushland that were destroyed.
Just as the Beeliar Wetlands must now regenerate, we must ensure our State’s environmental policies, laws, and planning processes are rebuilt and strengthened to provide the real protection that our environment and communities need.
An inquiry with the powers of a Royal Commission must be established to investigate the project with specific attention to the following matters:
- The planning and assessment process that failed to look at all options including the Outer Harbour, and failed to provide public consultation, disclosure, or transparency in the process;
- The lack of assessment of economic benefits and costs the State of Western Australia, and the failure to develop a business case for the project including the tunnel option for Roe 9;
- The failure by the EPA to follow critical policies during the environmental assessment, and the use of special legislation to validate the process following identified conflicts of interest;
- The process and decision-making to allow destruction of Aboriginal Heritage sites, including the reassessment and de-listing of sites in the path of Roe 8;
- The selection process for contractors including screening process, track record, and role of political donations made by companies involved in the tender process;
- The necessity, timing, and motivation for the clearing of the Beeliar Wetlands over Christmas and before the 2017 State election, including the use of police resources at the site; and,
- The lack of compliance and enforcement of environmental conditions and the adequacy of these conditions to protect the environment, animal welfare, communities, and public health.
To the Government and Parliament of Western Australia,
I support the call for a full public inquiry with the powers of a Royal Commission into the handling of the Roe 8 and Perth Freight Link project. This project has displayed fundamental failures of government and law, and a full inquiry into every element of the project is required to ensure that it can never happen again.