09/04/2009 - 15:19

Dispute over Ellenbrook rail line study

09/04/2009 - 15:19

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Opposition leader Eric Ripper has accused the government of breaking an election promise after claiming a feasibility study into the Ellenbrook rail line had been cancelled.

Opposition leader Eric Ripper has accused the government of breaking an election promise after claiming a feasibility study into the Ellenbrook rail line had been cancelled.

Mr Ripper said the rail line was a key Liberal election promise that matched the commitment made by Labor to build a new rail line to Ellenbrook to serve the growing number of residents in the north-eastern suburbs.

"This is an appalling act of dishonesty by the Barnett Government," he said.

"This commitment was a key plank in the Liberal party's campaign, it has been funded in the Mid Year Review and the Minister for Transport Simon O'Brien reaffirmed his Government's support for the project as recently as December.

"The Government has long stated that the key foundation of the project was a Route Definition Study to design the layout of the rail line, and that without this the project could not go ahead.

"It has now been revealed that the Government has withdrawn the tender and cancelled the feasibility study which attracted eight submissions.

"This makes it impossible for the Government to commence construction of the Ellenbrook rail line in 2011-2012 as promised. This project has been effectively terminated."

Mr Ripper said the $850 million project would generate hundreds of jobs in Western Australia and connect the tens of thousands of people who live in the north-eastern suburbs with the rest of Perth.

"You only have to look at the success of the Perth to Mandurah rail line to see how worthwhile this project would be, both in the construction phase and in its service to the community," he said.

In an emailed statement to WA Business News, Mr O'Brien said there had been no cancellation of plans nor any decision not to proceed with public transport links to Ellenbrook.

"The Public Transport Authority is progressing plans for a study of rail services to Ellenbrook," he said.

"A consultant has been engaged to prepare the Northern Eastern Corridor Rapid Transit Study. This study will include the needs of Ellenbrook.

"Before construction of any railway, strategic advice is always sought by the government to study issues such as the likely patronage, the social, environmental and heritage issues and alternative public transport options.

"That work is required before proceeding to a more detailed planning and design stage of any feasible transport option that may emerge."

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