From the Commissioner
Commissioner of Main Roads
The past year has marked a period of consolidation for us as the Western Australian economy steadily recovered after two challenging years of COVID-19-related disruptions and uncertainty.
Across the Transport Portfolio we have been unwavering in our commitment to connect people and places safely and effectively across our great state. I take great satisfaction in sharing some of the year's remarkable highlights with you.
Establishing our Portfolio Aboriginal Engagement Team has been a significant achievement as we foster Aboriginal economic participation and promote cultural recognition across our workplaces and into the community. We have a strong focus on Aboriginal engagement, with a five-year target to award $700 million in contracts to Aboriginal businesses and facilitate Aboriginal workers to complete 3.5 million work hours. Across the Portfolio, we awarded a total of 65 contracts to Aboriginal businesses, representing an investment close to $161 million and more than 794,000 hours of employment for Aboriginal people.
In early 2023, the Kimberley region faced severe flooding leading to extensive damage to roads and bridges, isolating many communities in the region. We undertook urgent work to reconnect the east and west Kimberley, fast-tracking the procurement process to deliver a new river bridge at Fitzroy Crossing, condensing nine months' procurement work into a remarkable eight-week process. Work is progressing well despite unseasonal weather.
We have made significant progress on a range of road projects including the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, Albany Ring Road, Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, and the opening of new ramps on the Leach Welshpool Interchange and Mitchell Freeway Extension to name a few. After the current state budget, the total value of the Regional Road Safety Program is just over $1 billion which will see 60 percent of the regional road network upgraded to one-metre-wide bitumen sealed shoulders. Over the last two years of the program, we have seen a 50 per cent reduction in fatalities and a 35 per cent reduction in serious injuries on treated sections of state road when compared to the previous five years on state roads.
Several METRONET projects moved into delivery phase with the $1.8 billion Forrestfield Airport Line opened in October providing a new rail service to Perth Airport and the eastern suburbs. Both the Yanchep Rail Extension and the Morley-Ellenbrook Line saw the first tracks being laid and the Lakelands Station opened to the public in June this year.
During the year we also created the Transport Portfolio Land and Property Services branch which is a centralised hub that coordinates commercial leasing activities, buildings and facilities, and land administration services for all related transport projects and infrastructure.
The aviation sector has introduced new routes, enabling residents from regional areas to travel more frequently at reduced costs. Furthermore, the Regional Airfares Zone Cap Scheme resulted in more than 150,000 capped airfares being sold throughout 2022-23.
The Portfolio is actively involved in developing a Transport Sector Emissions Reduction Strategy to achieve the Government's Climate Policy commitments. We are developing plans for emissions reduction that focuses on the Government's commitment to reduce public sector emissions by 80 per cent by 2030.
None of these achievements are possible without the commitment and support of all staff across our Portfolio agencies. I thank everyone for their hard work and dedication over the past 12 months. Looking ahead, I anticipate another exciting and eventful year as we continue to serve the Western Australian community.
Commissioner of Main Roads