About Us

RETHINK THE LINK believes there is a better solution to the proposed Perth Freight Link and the raft of economic, environmental and social impacts it will have on the WA community.

Rethink The Link is a community run campaign started in early 2015 as a response to the sudden creation of the Perth Freight Link (PFL) project by the state and federal governments.

Our goal is to convince the governments to rethink their commitment to the Perth Freight Link in the current form and consider an alternative sustainable transport solution.

The campaign has been instrumental in:

  • organising a wide number of community forums to discuss the PFL. Government representatives have been invited to participate but in all bar one declined to attend.
  • pulling together with the Save Beeliar Wetlands and Road to Rail campaigns an Alliance of over 35 organisations and 5 local governments opposed to the PFL.
  • gathering thousands of pledges from people willing to stop the destruction in the state significant asset of the Beeliar Regional Park.
  • promoting the work undertaken by the City of Kwinana to investigate and cost a new port and intermodal rail facility supporting WA’s jobs and economic growth potential.
  • assisting in the Senate Inquiry into the PFL that recommended federal funding be withdrawn from the project and instead the Kwinana Outer Harbour port be investigated.
  • obtaining continuous media coverage focussing on the cost effective sustainable alternatives.
  • holding rallies and marches with thousands of people attending.
  • supporting the Save Beeliar Wetlands Association in the Supreme and High Court challenges to the EPA and Minister’s decisions approving the Roe 8 section of the PFL.

To conclude RTLs first year, we won the Premiers Active Citizen’s Award on Australia Day 2016.

WA State Strategic Planning – The PFL not included

The PFL project was never envisioned in any WA strategic planning documents or indeed in any Infrastructure Australia reports previous to 2014. It bypassed normal due processes to obtain $1.2 billion in federal funding. Details of the business case and assumptions used have still not been released to the public, despite continuous Freedom of Information requests, the Senate Inquiry, Senate Orders and the Commissioner of Information declaring they should be made public.

The Senate Inquiry committee’s first recommendation in its final report released in May 2016 was that the Commonwealth withdraw its support for the Freight Link project, and re-commit the project’s total federal funding to the development and implementation of future Western Australian freight infrastructure projects.

Visit all the Media, audio and video reports here

Prof Phil Jennings

The Perth Freight Link: Facts and Fiction – Professor Phil Jennings

Philip Jennings is well respected as the Emeritus Professor at Murdoch University and the President of the Wetlands Conservation Society. Read his short myth busting report here which includes the environmental considerations for a Kwinana Port.

animated video

Watch 15 year old Caedon Kloosterman’s wonderful animated explanation of the problems and solutions for Perth Freight Link – Say no to Roe 8!

Also The Freight Link Mess where Professor Peter Newman explains why building this road is so wrong.



The report was released on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 and is available here.

Senator Scott Ludlam who initiated the Senate Inquiry has stated that the report clearly vindicated the grassroots effort to scrap the disastrous project.

“This report buries the case for the Perth Freight Link once and for all. It is clear now why the Barnett Government has been so desperate to hide the business case and the assumptions that went into the cost-benefit analysis,” he said.

“This project is desperately flawed and unworkable, and is now turning into such an electoral liability that even the Coalition Senators who participated were unwilling to defend it.”

The second hearing of the Senate Inquiry held in March 2105 heard the ‘Captains of Industry’ call on the WA government to get on and build the Outer Harbour now!

Leading businesses including BP and Wesfarmers, the Kwinana Industry Council, City of Kwinana, the Sustainable Transport Coalition, WA Farmers Federation and others gave evidence. All called for the reallocation of taxpayers funds to build the Outer Harbour with none in favour of the Perth Freight Link.

The Senate report damning the PFL was released in the same week that the old Fremantle bridge had to be closed because of its deteriorating state. The public saw the type of congestion leading up to Stirling Bridge we can look forward to if the Freight Link goes ahead with no plans in place for getting traffic over the last mile across the river at East Fremantle.

Premier Barnett has stated they will look at the plans for a bridge crossing in 2026. Surely if this government were serious they would start with the crossing planning and work back from there!

2016-05-02 Canning Highway kaos



 RTL Flyer from Fremantle Chamber of Commerce talk by Transport Minister 2016-03-18 Perth Freight Link


Hundreds of people met at Parliament House on the 23 Feb2016 to protest the draconian law that this govt is trying to bring in. One of the govt aims is to stop non-violent direct action to protect the Beeliar wetlands even though the United Nations has slammed these proposed laws. More details on the Facebook page.


See our discussion on the Health Impacts of the PFL.

Trucks may pay a Toll but there are more costs than that involved – your mental and physical health will be at stake and should be accounted for within any business case.


3,500 Protectors For Beeliar Wetlands 22-11-15 photo Peter Best


Rethink The Link Campaign TeamBibra Lake Rally A5 flyer 22 Nov 15

We love our kids being able to walk to school, play with their mates in the street and enjoy a picnic in the park. We love to walk or ride around Bibra Lake listening to the birdsong and discovering the beauty of a misty sunrise over the lakes, a bandicoot scooting under a banksia, Carnaby cockatoos flying overhead and the wildflowers popping up in spring.calyptorhynchus_latirostris

Our community is not prepared to lose this to an unnecessary freeway when there are good sustainable transport alternatives, including using existing railway lines for freight and Tonkin Highway to a new Kwinana Outer Harbour.

We are united in wanting to continue enjoying our precious bushland and wetlands, and to further develop strong connected communities and neighbourhoods.

Stand with us by pledging your support to do all in your power to keep our community together and the remaining wetlands and bushland intact.

I Pledge 
GET A SIGN Donate Volunteer  

Links to further information and actions:

NEWS – See our Media Page for the long list of media stories around the controversial Perth Freight Link.

8-2-16 Bureaucrats still hiding behind commercial in-confidence in Senate Estimates

4-2-16 An Auditor General investigation into the PFL and Sydney’s Westconnex has been backed by the Senate.

20/1/16 Main Roads criticised for felling ancient King Jarrah in Coolbellup Roe 8 reserve. 2016-01-13 Ancient Jarrah with Rex

19-1-16 EPA Probe article gives a good summary of Supreme Court Decision – WA ruling prompts EPA probe(see also ABC article – Roe 8: Environmental watchdog to choose own auditors, sparking questions over independence)

10/11/15 Main Roads asked to take back their White Elephant Project that nobody wants.Pifl delivery to Main Roads 3

1/11/15 Rethink Perth Freight Link wins Fremantle Festival Parade – largest entry in over Roel Loopers stunning parade photo110 years.

17/10/15 Council Election Results of Councillors who oppose the PFL

7/10/15 Senate Inquiry – 222 Submissions were lodged with only 4 supporting the PFL

10/9/15 Save Beeliar Wetlands have lodged a WA Supreme Court application to overturn the state environmental approval for Roe 8. Please donate now to support this action to stop the destruction of our precious wetlands and communities.

Rethink Perth Freight Link Alliance 

Rethink The Link is a member of the RPFL alliance of community groups and other organisations who oppose the Perth Freight Link project and any destruction of the Beeliar wetlands and who promote alternative sustainable transport solutions.

Our goal is to convince the State and Federal governments to rethink their commitment to the Perth Freight Link in its current form and consider alternative sustainable transport solutions.

Contact the Allianceinfo@rethinkpfl.org

– What we want
– What we don’t want
– Where the councils stand
– Why the Perth Freight Link needs a Rethink
– There is a better plan


We want well-planned, evidence-based, transparent, economically viable, environment-enhancing, society-building major infrastructure planning.

We have called on the state and federal governments:

  1. Stop the clock. No demolitions, no contracts.
    Immediately suspend all work, including the demolition of homes, the awarding of contracts and the making of contractual commitments, on the Perth Freight Link project;
  2. Proper planning before acting – PFL and Port privatisation.
    Undertake proper, rigorous and independent assessments of:
  1. the Perth Freight Link and viable alternative options to the Perth Freight Link including: – improving the efficiency of existing road infrastructure, – maximising freight on rail – situating container parks away from the Inner Harbour, to reduce empty running – development of the Outer Harbour at Kwinana; and
  2. the privatisation of the port of Fremantle, to the extent that it may facilitate or impact, or be facilitated or impacted by, the Perth Freight Link;
  • Transparency. No secret deals at our expense.
    Release publicly the full reports of those assessments together with the underlying data; and
  • Maintain the status quo. Think and consult the public first.
    Ensure that:

    1. no further work, including the demolition of homes, the award of contracts or the making of contractual commitments, takes place on the Perth Freight Link project; and
    2. no contractual commitments are made in relation to the privatisation of the port of Fremantle,

until such time as the assessment reports and underlying data have been made publicly available and a thorough community consultation has taken place.

Return to top


We don’t want major infrastructure planning on the run, based on “captain’s picks”, ignorant or outdated assumptions or, worse, planning based on manipulated data, for political purposes to satisfy vested interests (party donors). We don’t want secrecy under the cover of “commercial in confidence”, economic disasters, ad hoc planning that destroys the fabric of our city without reference to how the infrastructure will affect our physical environment or our social wellbeing.

We don’t want government making major infrastructure decisions as if it’s still 1955.


Professor Peter Newman, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, addressed a City of Fremantle Community Forum on 11 July 2015:

Return to top


The City of Fremantle has adopted a position not to support the Perth Freight Link (PFL). It wants the PFL put on hold until further long-term freight planning and better options are developed. To assist the City council in forming its view, the City commissioned CUSP to provide two expert reports so that the City has an evidentiary basis for its decisions.

The City of Cockburn condemns the decision to run the PFL through the Beeliar Wetlands and wants to see the PFL go to the south toward the proposed Outer Harbour at Cockburn Sound. The alternative route would solve two sets of concerns:

  1. It would preserve the precious Beeliar Wetlands at the significant section between North and Bibra Lakes; and
  2. It would provide vital infrastructure to the industrial areas to the south, coastal and inland, which would be an economic bonus to the city, as well as other cities to the south.

The Town of East Fremantle (PDF pp.23 ff) has voted to reject the proposed PFL, to work with the City of Fremantle to urge the Government to rethink the current proposal, and to seek information on alternatives that provide a higher long term cost/benefit to freight movement to Fremantle Port.

The City of Melville has over some years supported the extension of Roe 8 and further stages of the highway, preferring that freight trucks don’t go through the City of Melville. Indeed, the City has taken to calling the PFL “the Melville Bypass”. On 17 August 2015, the council held a Special Electors Meeting to consider the PFL, a meeting forced upon it by a petition of Melville electors unhappy with the City’s stance. At that meeting, for the first time, Main Roads WA and the City of Melville provided a public opportunity for questions from residents and ratepayers and gave some answers. The City had previously produced a report which was adopted by the council. It recommended that council support the PFL Section 1 (Roe 8) and Section 2, Option 2 (Tunnel Option).

The City of Kwinana has produced an alternative plan to develop the outer harbour and related Intermodal Facility, called the Indian Ocean Gateway.

Whilst the importance of the Fremantle Inner Harbour is acknowledged, the City sees greater long term returns for the State in investment in the Outer Harbour Port and Intermodal Facility than continually retrofitting the Inner Harbour at great expense (eg. Perth Freight Link project).*

The Kwinana Industries Council supports the Indian Ocean Gateway proposal.

We believe if a decision is made immediately, the Outer Harbour will be loading containers within five years. (Chris Oughton, Director, KIC)

The Town of Mosman Park (PDF p. 88) has concerns about the impacts of the PFL and has resolved to ask its local member, Premier Colin Barnett, to advocate for cost benefits analysis of alternatives to the PFL.

Return to top


Despite the so-called budget emergency, with funds to many important services being slashed, Tony Abbott and Colin Barnett have committed $1.6 billion to build a freight freeway into Fremantle, including the Roe 8 extension from Kwinana Freeway through the Beeliar Wetlands at Bibra Lake.

Prior to committing state and federal funds, there was no cost-benefit analysis for the project, or scrutiny of the WA government’s claims that there is a 5:1 cost benefit for the new freight freeway – despite repeated requests for evidence.

Abbott and Barnett have no idea about what they are actually funding, with no clue about how a freeway through Fremantle or the elevated road over the wetlands will actually work. They say it will reduce congestion, but modelling shows almost no difference in trucks on local roads.

There has been no consultation about the project with the affected communities. Perhaps that is because the government doesn’t even have the right plans and drawings yet. Yet, the Department of Transport has already issued the first invitation to tender! Where are the traffic studies? Where are the noise and pollution studies?

West Australians do not want toll roads. There is huge community opposition to the Roe 8 part of this proposal, which generated the largest number of appeals to the EPA about a metro project in the state’s history.

Abbott and Barnett have bankrolled the project before the environmental impact assessments are even finalised. And you can bet they won’t factor in the environmental devastation when assessing the cost of the project.

Return to top


In 2013, before Tony Abbott’s decision to fund roads and not rail, former Transport Minister Troy Buswell said, “By reducing reliance on road transport, rail services also contribute significantly to trade growth capacity by improving supply chain efficiency through reducing truck congestion at the port.” Rail container freight is still only about 14%, nowhere near the state government’s goal of 30%.

The business case and cost benefit analysis for the Perth Freight Link were written after Tony Abbott’s “Captain’s Call” to fund the Perth Freight Link. What are the chances it compares the costs and benefits of the other options, such as rail and roads to the outer harbour at Kwinana? Is that why Abbott and Barnett still won’t release the business case for the Perth Freight Link?

Rail takes trucks off roads. WA Governor, Kerry Sanderson, said: “One 600m double stacked train equals about 80 to 100 trucks.”
Former Minister Buswell again: “Increased use of rail for transporting container freight and with more trucks picking up empty containers from Forrestfield rather than at Fremantle, there are an estimated 100,000 fewer truck movements annually on roads linking with the port.”

The World Health Organisation says diesel fuel particulates cause lung cancer (2013). Rail uses one quarter the diesel fuel of trucks. Families living along this truck freeway will be heavily affected.

Average annual number of deaths on WA roads 2001 to 2009: 188
Average annual number of deaths on WA rail 2001 to 2009: 2
Source: BITRE Infrastructure Statistics Year Book 2011, savegrainonrail.com.au


Return to top