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Don Punch labels resolution by Bunbury councillors premature

Stuart McguckinSouth Western Times
Don Punch
Camera IconDon Punch Credit: South Western Times

Bunbury MLA Don Punch has criticised city councillors for passing a motion which rejected Main Road’s preferred option for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road northern interchange.

Mr Punch said he thought the resolution was premature and disappointing given Mayor Gary Brennan had raised the issues with Infrastructure Minister Rita Saffioti only a week prior.

“She had given a clear undertaken to seek advice on the proposals that the city and the shire of Harvey had put forward.” he said.

“Given the Minister had not had a chance to respond to the request of the city, I think there was a disregard for good faith to jump in to make a resolution like that.”

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The motion was put forward by Cr James Hayward at last week’s council meeting and passed eight votes to two.

Cr Hayward said the motion was originally going to be tabled in December, but was held back in order to give Main Roads and the Minister an opportunity to meet with councillors.

“We’ve been trying to talk to Main Roads since December,” he said.

“They basically refused to meet with us after our initial meeting – there was a couple of meetings set and they cancelled both times.

“We were then promised a meeting with the Minister and all the councillors – that didn’t eventuate either and ultimately the Mayor went to speak to Minister in a more private meeting.

“If the Minister makes a decision now to change the plan then that’s fine, but if she doesn’t we are on the record saying we don’t accept what’s being proposed.”

Mr Punch said while some councillors believed the only way to have a road from Perth to Bunbury was for it to be direct with no bends, the State Government had a responsibility to safety and efficiency.

“The State will build a road which is safe and efficient in terms of its objective – and that objective is certainly not to direct all the traffic further south,” he said.

“We need to be doing everything we can to make sure people choose Bunbury as their destination.

“The city has to ask the question what makes a contemporary, interesting and vibrant city that people want to come and live in.”

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