State Budget Blind Spot Set to Clog Traffic Artery
With key infrastructure remaining a blind spot in the State Government’s budget announced today (May 19), the City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey has warned the area surrounding the new Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) would become a clogged traffic artery.
The planned Murdoch Activity Centre (MAC) development will see an additional 35,000 people living, working and travelling through the area, and today further funding has been allocated to the FSH.
“In the same way a blocked artery causes heart failure, this is what will happen to the new MAC and FSH – more infrastructure funding is needed to help build this area into the potential health, education and research specialty centre it was created to be,” he said.
“Without this funding, the State Government is restricting the economic development of the City and the productivity of the State.
“Instead of offering first hand benefits to West Australians, it will become a black spot that causes inconvenience for thousands of residents and travellers through the area.”
In it’s 2011/12 Budget, the State Government did not allocate any funding for transport infrastructure at the site, including the extension of Roe Highway or a new two-way tunnel under South Street, to help direct the extra 6,000 people a day traveling to FSH on day one of it opening in 2014.
“I’m severely disappointed the State Government deems transport infrastructure around the area trivial, they are sentencing local residents and road users to years of congestion as well as threatening lives with more than 85,000 emergency movements – that’s almost 10 every hour – trying to get to FSH and St John of God,” Mayor Aubrey said.
“Last year, the State Government failed to deliver on this vital infrastructure project, and have continued to disregard it again while completion of the FSH hub looms.
“The cost for the two-way tunnel is estimated at $25 million and must be funded before 2014, by which time thousands of people will be using the South Street and Kwinana Freeway intersection each day to reach FSH – the tunnel is vital for avoiding congestion in Murdoch and nearby areas.”
Even with proposed upgrades, recent road traffic impact assessments indicate the road network in the Murdoch precinct is expected to reach a ‘fail’ status by 2021 and gridlocked by 2031.
The City of Melville made an official request for $5.5 million in the 2011/12 budget to begin road infrastructure expansion. It also suggested $5 million be invested in the expansion of public transport facilities in the area.
As well as the two-way tunnel, projects suggested for funding by the City included:
• Extension of Roe Highway between Kwinana Freeway and Murdoch Drive, an area which has not been the subject of any environmental concern.
• Grade separation of South Street and Murdoch Drive.
• Addition of a third lane to the section of Kwinana Freeway from Leach to Roe Highway to Cockburn Central in both directions as well as improved entry and exit arrangements for heavy vehicles between Leach Highway to Roe Highway.
• Provide the Southern link from Murdoch Drive to the Kwinana Freeway, including full movement intersection for Roe Highway extension and southern extension of Murdoch Drive.
“I know I speak for the overwhelming majority of the Melville community when I say we expected the election commitment to extend Roe Highway to be delivered,” Mayor Aubrey said.
City of Melville Chief Executive Officer Dr Shayne Silcox said while he was pleased disability services received a boost, he was disappointed there was no relief from growing living costs of power and water.
“I commend the State Government for providing an additional $41million over four years to help meet growing needs in disability services,” he said.
“With rising household costs, we haven’t seen any relief in this budget, especially for pensioners who will be hardest hit, there has been no change to help them access rebates on expenditures such as waste charges in their rates, which we have lobbied hard for without effect.
“I’m also disappointed to see nothing allocated to the integrated plan from a collaboration of 21 Local Governments to improve the health of the Swan Canning Catchment, an icon for all West Australians.”
• Melville is one of the top three identified statistical local area (SLA) visited by international visitors for the Experience Perth Region. Following Perth and Fremantle.
Melville achieved 880,000 visitor nights for international tourists in the most recent Regional Tourism Profiles by Tourism Research Australia.
• The Murdoch Activity Centre extends between South Street and Farrington Road, between Kwinana Freeway and Murdoch Drive.
It includes the future Fiona Stanley Hospital site, St John of God Hospital, Challenger TAFE and FESA site, rail interchange at South Street and Kwinana Freeway as well as the eastern end of the Murdoch University site.
• Planned expansion in the Murdoch Precinct:
The current St John of God 357 bed hospital expanding an additional 125 beds in 2013/14 and a further 80 beds in 2018/19 with some 12,000m2 of commercial area becoming available contributing 1,800 employees for the hospital and some 500 employees for the commercial precinct. It is estimated that this hospital will see some 25,000 emergency movements annually.
A proposed mixed use precinct with some 1,000 apartments accommodating over 2,000 residents plus a 154,000m2 of commercial area and 15,000m2 of retail and entertainment space.
Murdoch University increasing by 15,000 students and staff coupled with an additional 300,000m2 of commercial area.
Receiving funding in the recent allocation, Challenger Institute of Technology is planning for an additional 1,000 students and staff and building expansion of some 47,000m2 (currently 6000m2).
Remand centre changing to a prison status.
Revitalisation of the urban quadrants in the precinct generating an additional 5,000 new dwellings.