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Freeway push from region

MANDURAH’S close proximity to Perth is proving to be attractive to many working people who are choosing to live in the regional city and commute to Perth.

Many people who might have looked to buy in the northern coastal suburbs of Perth, such as Burns Beach or Yanchep, are choosing to live in Mandurah instead with its established infrastructure, cheaper land prices and comparable distance from Perth.

Currently around 40 per cent of employed people in the Peel region commute out of the region. This means around 10,000 cars travel to Perth daily.

The much-anticipated Perth to Mandurah rail line and the proposed extension of the Kwinana Freeway will make the regional city even more attractive to future residents.

The Perth to Mandurah rail line is expected to be carrying passengers by 2007.

Passengers boarding in Mandurah can expect to travel the 71 kilometres to the Perth CBD in 48 minutes. By comparison, the time to travel to Perth Central Station from Mandurah in peak hour traffic is 68 minutes.

The New MetroRail office is currently working on the public comment received in response to the Public Environmental Review which examines the likely environmental effects of the project. 

Environment Minister Judy Edwards is expected to grant environmental clearances for the project by July 2003.

The Kwinana Freeway extension will also work to make the region far more accessible. The construction of another 11 kilometres to Safety Bay commenced in 1999 and the push is now on to get the Perth to Bunbury freeway built in a timely fashion. 

The Perth-Bunbury Stakeholder Group, whose members include the Peel and South-West Development commissions, met with Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan this month to discuss ways to progress the $320 million Peel Deviation and Kwinana Freeway extension project.

The deviation road will extend from the southern end of the Kwinana Freeway to take traffic south of Mandurah via the eastern edge of the Peel Harvey Estuary to link with the Bunbury Highway on the south coast of Lake Clifton.

Peel Development Commission chief executive Maree De Lacey said the deviation road would improve the flow of traffic through the region, diverting traffic away from the city centre.

She said the deviation road would ease the flow of traffic, particularly heavy haulage, and have significant economic benefits for the region. 

While the stakeholder group has been pushing for the construction of the deviation road to be completed by 2005 Ms MacTiernan stated earlier this month that the earliest time construction could start was 2008 – providing the Western Australian Government received federal funding.

Ms MacTiernan said that for the WA Government to take on the project federal funds were required.

The Government’s previous funding application in 2002, under the Commonwealth’s Roads of National Importance program, was rejected.

“The Federal Government has now changed the whole basis for allocating federal road funds,” Ms MacTiernan said.

RONI funding has been abolished as part of the new Auslink, which will only fund projects in the National Land Transport Network.

The Perth-Bunbury link has been included in the draft network and is in the Peel Region Scheme. The Government anticipates a revised funding application seeking assistance for the construction of the Peel Deviation will be submitted by December 2004.

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