The Morrison Government has increased its investment in the Tonkin Highway upgrade to $929 million, including $404 million to extend the Highway south past Mundijong Road and connect it to the South Western Highway.
Member for Canning Andrew Hastie joined the Prime Minister on Thursday to make the announcement, saying the money was further evidence of the Coalition’s commitment to SJ and the Peel region.
“This announcement builds on the commitment made 12 months ago by the Coalition, when we delivered $581 million to upgrade and extend the Tonkin Highway,” Mr Hastie said. “Back then WA Labor agreed to a 50/50 funding arrangement, but for 12 months they did nothing.”
“I know how important this project is to the growth and safety of our region, so I went back to Canberra and took the case up again. This additional funding brings the Morrison Government’s contribution to the project to a ratio of 80/20.”
“This money is in the budget. It’s not tied to the outcome of the election – it is there and ready to go. I call on WA Labor once again to use this money and start building.
“I’ve spoken to countless people around Byford and SJ about this issue over the past three years – almost everyone wants the Tonkin Highway extended. I am determined to make it happen.”
The funding will also be used to upgrade the section of Tonkin Highway between the Great Eastern Highway and Collier Road, and to construct grade separations at the Kelvin, Welshpool and Hale Road intersections.
The funding comes as part of the Morrison Government’s additional $1.6 billion investment announced this week for critical infrastructure across Perth and regional Western Australia.
It builds upon the existing $9.81 billion worth of commitments to West Australian road and rail infrastructure.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this year’s Budget would lock in further federal support for crucial infrastructure projects across regional WA.
“The upcoming Budget will continue the Liberal Nationals Government’s firm commitment to ensuring Western Australia gets its fair share of infrastructure funding now and into the future,” the Prime Minister said.
“We are prioritising investment in the major projects needed to better support regional areas, ease congestion in and around Perth and reduce the terrible impact of road trauma by delivering safer roads.”
Mr Hastie also noted that WA Labor have since committed to funding the Tonkin Highway extension, should they win government at the upcoming election. He explained that this was a meaningless announcement which duplicated already allocated funds.
“Federal Labor said they will fund the Tonkin Highway should they win the election. It’s a very deceptive announcement – this money is already in the Commonwealth budget. They're too late to the party. Labor should have been working with us 12 months ago when the Coalition delivered its first investment, not waiting for an election to come.”
Today I made the case in Parliament for the extension of the Tonkin Highway to Lakes Road.
Extending the Tonkin makes sense for so many reasons. I explained to the House how the highway's current terminus is choking the Peel Region's roads, and holding back our local economy.
Extending the Highway will make our communities safer and more prosperous. You can read or watch my speech to parliament below.
I rise today to further advocate for the extension of the Tonkin Highway in my electorate of Canning. The Tonkin Highway was first laid in 1980 and since then has been extended both north and south. In 2005 its southern extension was complete, terminating the highway at Thomas Road in the shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
Since that time the population of the shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale has more than doubled. With many more motorists on the road, the Tonkin Highway/Thomas Road intersection has become a severe bottleneck, causing heavy congestion to spill out onto many adjoining local roads. It forces existing heavy haulage trucks onto local roads networks, impacting their safety and capacity. And with its terminus at the northern end of the shire boundary, the Tonkin Highway in its current form is restricting industrial growth and the development of the local economy.
No-one understands this issue better than John Mitchell, owner and operator of Mitchell's Livestock Transport. In any given year, Mitchell's is responsible for moving over 500,000 cattle across 1,500 pick-up and delivery locations across Australia. With his business based out of Waroona in the southern end of Canning, John has an intimate knowledge of the road network in the Peel region and beyond and how it could be improved.
At present, any of John's trucks driving through Perth from the Great Southern and beyond have to use one of the following east-west links to get to the freeway and out to Kwinana: South West Highway and Armadale Road, Thomas Road, Mundijong Road, Karnup Road, Lakes Road, Pinjarra Road and Greenlands Road. Most of these links are main streets and country roads running through the Peel region. They are unsuitable for heavy transport like John's, because the roads are either already heavily congested, are dangerous to navigate by virtue of their topography or act as the main streets in local communities.
And even if they do use these roads, the trucks still need a north-south corridor. The only current options are the Kwinana and Mitchell freeways, but these are even more heavily congested. In fact, yesterday Infrastructure Australia released its national report noting that congestion on the freeways will increasingly result in nationally significant losses to productivity.
There is an obvious solution. Extending the Tonkin Highway from Thomas Road down to Lakes Road would solve a number of these problems.
First and foremost, it would allow heavy haulage to travel along an interior pathway, reducing the number of big trucks on the freeways.
It would strengthen north-south and east-west links in Perth and Western Australia as well as provide an opportunity to create better transport routes between the east and west coasts of Australia.
It would cut down the number of trucks currently passing along local roads and through communities, such as the Byford CBD, which is rapidly growing.
It would improve heavy haulage access and also provide a significant boost to the local economy.
The Tonkin Highway extension would create the right conditions for industrial growth in places like the West Mundijong industrial park. The Tonkin Highway extension is vital for the long-term future of Serpentine Jarrahdale and indeed the whole Peel region. We need to prioritise this project as one that will encourage local development and growth.
Member for Canning Andrew Hastie has used one of his first speeches before parliament in 2018 to call again for the extension of the Tonkin Highway south of Thomas Road.
Mr Hastie told a full sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday that the Highway’s expansion was key to local jobs and economic development in the Peel Region.
“The residents of Serpentine Jarrahdale –the fastest growing local government in the country– have been waiting more than 20 years for the Tonkin Highway to be built past Thomas Road.”
“They are still waiting.”
“Extending the Tonkin Highway will boost the local economy, stimulating industry in Serpentine-Jarrahdale and the centre of the Peel Region. This will create countless local jobs, particularly for young people looking to get into a trade.”
“We need to get this road built soon.”
Mr Hastie’s speech is the latest of more than two years campaigning for the project and comes off the back of a visit in December from federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann.
Minister Cormann said that the federal government understood that extending the Highway was an important step in unlocking the Peel Region’s potential.
“The Turnbull Government recognises that extending the Tonkin Highway south is an essential step in unlocking the Peel region’s economic potential,” Minister Cormann said.
Mr Hastie called on the state and federal governments to work together to get the job completed.
“Locals want it, and the federal government understands the need. I urge Premier McGowan to work with us for the good of Serpentine-Jarrahdale and the greater Peel Region.”
A transcript of Andrew's speech can be found here
Finance Minister today met with Member for Canning Andrew Hastie MP and executives from the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale to talk about the Tonkin Highway extension project.
With the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale recognised by the 2016 Census as the fastest-growing local government area in Australia, Andrew Hastie MP said it was time to get the project off the ground.
“The purpose of today’s meeting was to give the Finance Minister an opportunity to view the project on the ground, rather than just on paper.
“It was a very positive meeting. The Minister understands that extending the Tonkin Highway south to Mundijong Road is critical to sustainable population growth in Serpentine-Jarrahdale,” said Mr Hastie.
“There is wide community support for this project, and all five local governments in the Peel region have identified it as a priority.
“The next step for us is to harness that community support, and encourage the State Government to put the Tonkin Highway extension at the top of their to-do list. The McGowan Government needs to make this a priority,” said the Member for Canning.
I encourage all local residents who support extending the Tonkin Highway to email my office over the Christmas break, so I can take your feedback directly to decision makers,” said Andrew Hastie.