Mr Wilson (1:47pm) — It was depressing but not surprising in the least to discover that the government’s secret list of infrastructure and transport commitments, with a combined value of $7.6 billion, did not include a single project in Western Australia. It’s not surprising because it follows the pattern of the last five years, a period in which the coalition has proved time and time again that it takes Western Australia for granted.
Western Australia needs investment in 21st-century infrastructure, and there’s no better example than a new road and rail bridge across the Derbarl Yerrigan, or Swan River, in my electorate. If you want to improve the critical cross-river linkage between north and south and you want to shift more freight out of Fremantle off road and onto rail, you need this bridge.
The current bridge was built in 1939. It has a predominantly timber framework and it is past time for it to be replaced. The previous state Labor government put funds aside for that purpose. The Barnett Liberal government took those funds away. A much-needed new bridge would be safer and more efficient, enabling a duplication of the rail link that is currently conflicted during the day between passenger and freight trains. It would mean the existing bridge could be repurposed as a pedestrian and cycle link, with a potential for community and cultural uses. Yet with $7.6 billion for projects around the country, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison-dot-dot-dot-watch-this-space government is continuing to blank WA. To borrow the tourism campaign slogan from a few years ago, we find ourselves on the far side of the country in Western Australia asking, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’