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Contract awarded for WA high speed rail business case

Planning to investigate a potential faster rail link between the Western Australia city of Bunbury and Perth is progressing, with consultants now on board to develop the project’s strategic business case.

In partnership with MER Consult and Arup Group, KPMG has been awarded a $500,000 contract to produce the project’s strategic business case, which will include evaluation of the potential economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of the project.

The proposal aims to improve public transport travel between Perth and Bunbury, with the existing Australind service trip taking two and a half hours.

Once complete, the strategic business case will help outline the economic and population conditions required for this future piece of transport infrastructure to be viable.

The Federal Government allocated $4 million in the 2020-21 Budget for high-level investigations into a faster train to Bunbury, with the State matching that investment.

Detailed planning work will continue throughout next year, with the strategic business case expected to be ready in mid-2024.

This is long-term planning for a fast train that, if the study finds it feasible, is still realistically many years away.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the contract award was an important step in the planning process for a potential future Bunbury faster rail service.

“The business case will use population data, travel patterns, land use planning and other metrics to assess the project’s economic, social and environmental benefits, which will help guide us when making decisions about its development,” she said.

“This is a long-term project looking well into the future. The strategic business case is a first step in understanding what a faster public transport link between Perth and Bunbury might look like.”

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said high-speed train services would be a boon for the tourist industry and local communities.

“There are so many wonderful towns between Perth and Bunbury – Harvey, Pinjarra and Cookernup just to name a few – and a high-speed train will provide more access for locals and tourists alike,” she said.

“The awarding of this contract is the next big step towards investigating the concept of a high-speed train, with a business case due in mid-2024.”