City of Bunbury and state government at odds over Bunbury Outer Ring Road

Main Roads WA released a video detailing the northern interchange after a City of Bunbury councillor created his own, which was labelled by government as misleading.
Main Roads WA released a video detailing the northern interchange after a City of Bunbury councillor created his own, which was labelled by government as misleading.

The State Government has come out swinging following the City of Bunbury council's decision to further express their disappointment regarding the Bunbury Outer Ring Road northern interchange.

Tensions were high last week after councillor James Hayward released a video showing how the northern interchange would work, days later Transport minister Rita Saffioti released a Main Roads video to counter claims in the first. Ms Saffioti said the council's decision to continue to fight against the interchange didn't make sense.

"I am deeply disappointed that the City of Bunbury Council wants to turn this project into a political football," she said.

"Their key argument relies on the flawed logic that motorists will not be smart enough to use one of several interchanges to exit and visit Bunbury.

"Here we are, a State Government that has made good on its promise to secure funding and commit to build a project that the South-West community and City have wanted for many years, and now the Council seem to want to walk away from it.

"A key point here is that the project is worth nearly $1 billion and will pump millions into the local economy, and it goes against reason that Council would seek to delay it."

City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said he was not against the project but believed an alternate design to better accommodate traffic into Bunbury was necessary.

"The Outer Ring Road will deliver many benefits for the community," he said.

"However, the City of Bunbury remains concerned that the current design does not include the Forrest Highway to Bunbury as the primary route.

"The northern interchange still requires drivers to travel through a convoluted series of loops before returning to the Forrest Highway and northbound traffic is still required to give way at a roundabout."

Mr Brennan said the design would cause a significant reduction in free-flowing traffic movements.

"The preferred design would be the Main Roads WA option to continue Forrest Highway over the Outer Ring Road, without a roundabout," he said.

"I know the Premier has a great affinity with Bunbury and I am encouraged by the changes made so far and look forward to further positive discussions," Mr Brennan said.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch echoed Ms Saffioti's sentiments and said he was very disappointed with the City of Bunbury.

"I think the Minister was absolutely correct in that the council gave way to political interests rather than dealing with the facts of the matter as they should in the interest of the community of Bunbury," he said.

"It reiterates my view that the council is very good on rhetoric, very good at putting plans out and very poor at actually delivering.

"If we're going to work together the council need to lift their game and operate on factual information and not half truths."

The northern and central sections of the project has been referred to the Environmental Protection Authority and is currently going through the seven-day comment process.

To have your say visit consultation.epa.wa.gov.au.