The McGowan Government has jeopardised the Great Southern’s economic development by dragging its heels on submitting a business case for the completion of the Albany Ring Road.
Leader Mia Davies said the fact it took Labor almost two years to submit a business case to Infrastructure Australia for the final stages of the Ring Road showed the project had been treated as a low priority.
“It’s nice Transport Minister Rita Saffioti finally decided to submit a business case over the weekend, almost two years since Labor went to the election promising to complete the Ring Road,” Ms Davies said.
“I suspect the business case was hurriedly lodged ahead of the Premier’s visit to Albany today in order to avoid embarrassment for Mark McGowan when facing the community.”
Ms Davies said the Ring Road was a vital piece of infrastructure.
“It’s clear the McGowan Government’s transport and infrastructure priorities are metro rail despite Labor’s big promises to the Albany community and businesses that are relying on the Ring Road’s completion,” Ms Davies said.
South West MLC Colin Holt said Labor’s regional MPs had been ineffective in convincing the Cabinet to allocate priority to regional projects.
“At a State level, Albany has been well served by Peter Watson but he is fighting a losing battle inside a Labor caucus utterly dominated by city MPs,” Mr Holt said.
“This McGowan Government does not care for the bush because country votes make no material difference to its electoral fortunes in 2021.
“With metropolitan seats making up 76 per cent (42 out of 55 seats) of the Labor caucus, Premier McGowan was always going to put city voters first.”
The Nationals WA Senate candidate Nick Fardell said O’Connor MP Rick Wilson could not escape blame either.
“You need a big voice in a Federal Parliament dominated by East Coast MPs,” Mr Fardell said.
“I’m not sure if Mr Wilson has been up to the task in convincing his colleagues of the importance of the Albany Ring Road project.
“Perhaps Albany people and the wider electorate of O’Connor need to ask themselves: Can the major parties – who are beholden to city or East Coast interests – deliver for regional West Australians?
“It’s time for Albany to think about who can best represent their interests, and The Nationals WA have a strong track record for delivering for regional WA.”