13/10/2017 - 13:26

Shorten commits $700m to Perth rail line

13/10/2017 - 13:26

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Opposition leader Bill Shorten confirmed today that $700 million of federal money will be provided for a train line to Ellenbrook in Perth's north-east if Labor wins the next national election.

Bill Shorten says the funds will be provided if Labor wins the next federal election.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten confirmed today that $700 million of federal money will be provided for a train line to Ellenbrook in Perth's north-east if Labor wins the next national election.

The money will be part of a $1.6 billion fund Mr Shorten committed to Western Australia earlier this year as a top-up for the lower share of GST it currently receives compared with other states.

The rail project is part of the McGowan government's $2.5 billion Metronet project, which significantly expands the city's rail network.

Premier Mark McGowan said construction on the project would get under way in 2019, with additional state funding to be allocated in future budgets.

"This is the first time the state government has received a funding commitment from a federal government or federal opposition towards the train line to Ellenbrook,” he said.

"This project will create local jobs and finally deliver world-class public transport to the north-eastern suburbs.

"I welcome Bill Shorten's commitment and look forward to building the rail line to Ellenbrook.

"We would like to see the federal government now match or better this commitment to the Morley-Ellenbrook line."

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Ellenbrook line would be operational by 2022.

"The Morley-Ellenbrook line is the missing spine in our rail network; it will ease road congestion throughout the north-eastern suburbs and create local jobs,” she said.

The Morley-Ellenbrook Line will spur off the existing Midland line, near Bayswater station - which will be upgraded.

Six new Metronet stations will be built, at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Bennett Springs, Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook.

The Forrestfield-Airport link, currently under construction, also spurs off the existing Midland line near Bayswater Station and will run to Forrestfield though underground tunnels.

The link will add three new stations to the suburban rail network – Belmont, Airport Central and Forrestfield.

Federal infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher said Mr Shorten's promise to fund the Ellenbrook line was nothing more than the infrastructure vapourware voters have come to expect, with no substance behind the commitment and no real money to back it up.

"By contrast, the Turnbull Government is getting on with the job of delivering almost $7 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Western Australia," he said.

Mr Fletcher said the Turnbull Government has already committed over $1.2 billion to three stages of Metronet - the Forrestfield-Airport link, the Thornlie to Cockburn line and the extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep.

"Despite today’s claims that the Ellenbrook project is a priority, the WA Labor Government has not made any formal request to the Turnbull Government to provide funding for the Ellenbrook line – nor did they allocate any funding for construction of this project in their recent state Budget," he added. 

WA opposition leader Mike Nahan said this week the state government should scrap part of Metronet because of its budget woes.

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