WAFarmers condemns the Main Roads Amendment Bill 2015 which was introduced into State Parliament by Transport Minister Dean Nalder yesterday and was read for both the first and second time, without allowing for feedback.
The Bill, if accepted, would amend the Main Roads Act 1930 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to impose fees for heavy vehicle users on prescribed routes, increase penalty levels, enhance regulation making powers, impose the ability to clear native vegetation if urgently required without permits, and would allow for the Commissioner of Main Roads to resume private land for environmental offsets and any other reason.
WAFarmers President Dale Park said the surprise Bill could not possibly be expected to be passed without a fight from opposition, advocacy groups and individual property owners.
“Minister Nalder has not only introduced a Bill that would give Main Roads an irresponsible amount of power, but would see the legislation passed without going through the proper process and consultation to allow for comment,” Mr Park said.
“The ability of the Main Roads Commissioner to easily acquire and dispose of property will be an attack on farmers’ property rights if the Bill were passed.
“Additionally, the Bill ‘s explanatory memorandum clearly states that the Bill would allow for roads unrelated to the Perth Freight Link to be included on the heavy vehicle charging scheme, which is completely unacceptable.”
Mr Park said that while WAFarmers were still reviewing the proposed legislation, their initial concerns were surrounding the erosion of property rights, the risk that any road in the state could have a toll imposed on it, and that it was without the checks and balances of Ministerial approval.
Given the lack of consultation before this Bill was introduced, WAFarmers have difficulty believing that any consultation would take place before land was resumed or tolls imposed, if the Bill was passed.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].