Main Roads has confirmed that construction of the controversial southern section of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road will begin within weeks, after gaining Federal environmental approval at the end of June.
Residents living near the stretch of road, along with environmental groups, have vowed to keep fighting against the southern section of the BORR, penning a four-page letter to politicians around the country.
A spokesperson from the Commonwealth’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, overseen by Cabinet ministers Chris Bowen and Tanya Plibersek, said approvals for the BORR were signed off last month.
“On 29 June 2022, a delegate of the minister approved the Bunbury Outer Ring Road Southern Section project, with conditions to manage impacts to nationally protected matters,” the spokesperson said.
Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts confirmed the Commonwealth approval for the BORR was received at the end of June.
“The southern section of Bunbury Outer Ring Road has now received all of the required environmental approvals after a rigorous independent assessment process,” Mr Roberts said.
“Main Roads will now work to satisfy all of the relevant conditions in order to commence construction.”
These conditions include requirements to prepare suitable management plans, and provide environmental offsets for listed black cockatoos, western ringtail possums, banksia woodlands and tuart woodlands and forests.
But residents and environmentalists in the Friends of the Gelorup Corridor group believe these conditions cannot be met under the current plans, and have written to Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek urging her to reconsider.
“We believe there are a number of environmental conditions that the proponent is unlikely to meet and hence we’re asking the minister to halt the proposal,” a group spokesperson said.
“The four-page letter clearly states that the proponent will be unable to meet many conditions which are required and hence the proposal must be halted.”
The $1.25b BORR will create a 27km free-flowing highway linking the Forrest and Bussell highways to allow for increased traffic in the region while allowing trucks carrying freight to bypass Bunbury.