Lib candidate accused over flyer
Not yet: The flyer's claims are disputed. Picture: Steve Ferrier/ The West Australian

The Barnett Government has been accused of misleading voters with flyers claiming projects are under way when they are only in the planning stage with a fraction of the costs set aside.

An invitation to the public to a sundowner for an update on projects in the marginal Swan Hills electorate held by Liberal Frank Alban says the Perth to Darwin Highway, the Ellenbrook bus rapid transit system and works on the Lord Street and Reid Highway corner are "under way".

But construction work has not begun on any of the projects.

The Government has allocated $8 million for planning the Perth to Darwin Highway but the $850 million project will rely heavily on Federal funding.

Canberra is yet to decide whether it will kick in $425 million for the road.

The official route for the bus system between Ellenbrook and Bassendean is yet to be announced and the project is still on the drawing board.

The Government has allocated $1.2 million to prepare the notorious Reid Highway and Lord Street intersection for traffic lights with another $6.8 million to come from future State Budgets.

Construction work will begin in the second half of this year.

A media release from Transport Minister Troy Buswell in May carried the headline: "State funds $15 million Roe/Berkshire upgrade".

However, Mr Buswell has conceded only $450,000 has been allocated for "project development" funding, with the $14.55 million for the work to come from future Budgets.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said the flyer and media release amounted to "false advertising".

"It is dishonest for the minister to suggest they have funded projects when money for their construction is not in the Budget," Mr Travers said. "Now he has got his backbench member to engage in the same dishonest behaviour."

He said the projects represented a Budget black hole of almost $1 billion. "Either the Liberal candidates are lying when they say the projects are under way or the minister's Budget is dishonest in not showing the true picture of the State's deficit and net debt."

Mr Buswell assured the public the Government would complete the projects.

"The projects mentioned are either contained within the Budget or are commitments by Cabinet and will show up in coming Budgets," he said.

Mr Buswell said it was ridiculous to suggest projects were not under way because they were in the planning and design stage.

The West Australian

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