A $1.2 billion provision for Roe 8 and 9 will remain in the Federal Budget despite the McGowan Government’s landslide election victory handing WA Labor the power to permanently delete the road reserve. Federal Liberal MP Ben Morton, a long-time supporter of the southern suburbs project, confirmed today’s Budget would retain a contingent liability guaranteeing the cash “to the first WA Government willing to construct the Roe 8 and 9 extensions”. Premier Mark McGowan tried and failed to axe the road from future planning schemes during the last term of Parliament. Mr Morton said reintroducing the push would be an act of vandalism. Premier Mark McGowan’s bid to delete Perth Freight Link from future planning schemes, purportedly to protect the Beeliar Wetlands, was defeated by a single vote in the Legislative Council during the last term of Parliament. With Labor now enjoying total control of both houses of Parliament, Mr Morton said reintroducing the same legislation would be an act of “planning vandalism”. “Not building (Roe 8 and 9) is one thing. Preventing future governments from doing so is spiteful, reckless and unnecessary,” Mr Morton said. The WA Liberals campaigned on the construction of Roe 8 and 9 – which they claimed would create thousands of jobs while relieving congestion on Leach Highway and surrounding roads – at both the 2017 and 2021 elections. Despite dismal results in both those contests there remains a firm belief among both State and Federal Liberals that the infrastructure project remains popular with voters in the affected suburbs. Notably dropping any reference to the term “Perth Freight Link”, Mr Morton said the project was the only way to address congestion through the southern suburbs surrounding Leach Highway. “The Morrison Government supports the multiple benefits that will flow from building this vital infrastructure including job creation and the removal of trucks and cars from local roads,” he said. “If the (McGowan Government) doesn’t like the exact design progressed by the Barnett Government, they should look at how they could make an adjustment to the design that achieves the same outcome.” Mr Morton said any proposal for a road “without traffic lights” connecting the Roe Highway/Kwinana Freeway intersection to the existing four lane Stirling Highway at High Street would meet the criteria to release the funding. “The (McGowan Government) should at least look at options to achieve this outcome,” he said. “If the (McGowan Government) won’t build Roe 8 and 9, then what is their plan for congestion in the southern suburbs? The reality is that there isn’t one.” Mr Morton said Fremantle Port would “remain operational well into the future and expand its capacity” further underscoring the case for the construction of Roe 8 and 9. “The development for the Kwinana Outer Harbour has stalled and has been met with strong local grassroots opposition which say the project would destroy the local environment and damage fish stocks,” he said. The Outer Harbour – which has been costed at between $4 billion and $4.7 billion – is also facing fierce backlash from the Maritime Union of Australia, which is concerned increased automation will result in jobs losses, while the Transport Workers Union has also questioned whether a new port is required within the next decade.