West Australia’s new premier Mark McGowan says he has ordered work on Perth’s controversial Roe 8 highway extension be halted.

The project has been met with continuous opposition from local residents and environmentalists, who say environmental management plans have not been followed.

Speaking to the press on Monday McGowan said that bulldozing had been stopped and contractors would be asked to reduce any losses.

The five kilometre route is a part of the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link that the previous government said would provide a better road between industrial areas and Fremantle Port.

A majority of the funding for the project comes from the Federal Government, and McGowan says he will speak to the PM about redirecting the money towards Labor’s promised Metronet rail network.