Ring Road not on priority list

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany's Chester Pass roundabout.
Camera IconAlbany's Chester Pass roundabout. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson INSET: A map or the proposed Ring Road route., Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The Great Southern was left wanting a Valentine’s Day surprise after an Albany Ring Road failed to make a list of national priority projects last week.

Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Infrastructure Priority List, released on February 14, named 25 national projects worth $59 billion, including five in WA.

The Albany Ring Road, which has been a focal point for major investment in the Great Southern for years, was absent from the list.

No explanation was given for why projects did not make the grade, but the State Government’s submission of a business case for the ARR less than two weeks before the report’s release could have played a role in its exclusion.

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The McGowan Government has been in office 22 months this week, but when quizzed on February 5, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti continued to blame the former government for the lack of progress.

“The previous government had done no work on it, so we had to prepare the business case from scratch,” she said.

“We did stage one, stage two and stage three business cases and have submitted (them).

“This is a key commitment for our Government and we’re committed to putting money on the table, which we have done.

“We hope the Federal Government plays its part and contributes to this very much-needed infrastructure.”

The State Government has committed $35 million to the project.

Main Roads Great Southern regional manager Andrew Duffield said his organisation would continue pushing for a Federal commitment.

“I am disappointed that the Albany Ring Road project was not included in the recent update to the IA Priority List,” he said.

“The Port of Albany is the largest grain export port in regional Western Australia and the State Government will continue to seek a funding commitment from the Federal Government on this critical project.”

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