Engineering, Passenger Rail

Perth airport link gets environmental nod

Fairfield Airport line - WA PTA

WA’s Environmental Protection Agency has approved the planned extension to Perth’s rail network, the Forrestfield Airport Link.

The EPA on Monday recommended the state’s environmental minister, Albert Jacob, formally approve the project, which will build a rail line from Bayswater Station on the Midland Line, to Forrestfield via three stations – Airport West, Consolidated Airport and Forrestfield.

The project includes twin bored tunnels of about 8km passing under the Swan River, a re-alignment of Dundas Road, cross passages and emergency exits, the EPA noted.

State transport minister Dean Nalder on June 29 invited three consortia to participate in a Request for Proposal to design and construct the project:

  • Forrestfield Connect – consisting of Acciona Infrastructure, BAM International and Ferrovial Agroman
  • JHL JV – consisting of John Holland and Leighton Contractors
  • SI-NRW JV – consisting of Salini Impregilo and NRW

The three consortia were among the five which expressed interest in the project, as Nalder announced in March. The two consortia which didn’t make it past EOIs were CRCC-BGC-VDM JV (consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation, BGC and VDM), and Connecting Forrestfield (consisting of Lend Lease and Ghella).

The EPA did note that as part of the project is on Perth Airport Land, it is subject to a separate assessment and approvals process under Commonwealth legislation and did not form part of the proposal assessed by the EPA.

But the rest of the project is ready to go, the authority said, with two key conditions (among others):

  • the creation of a Flora and Vegetation Monitoring and Management Plan to ensure no adverse direct or indirect impacts to Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) outside of the Forrestfield Development Envelope, at Poison Gully Creek and Lot 12 Ibis Place – from the temporary dewatering and recharge activities; and
  • the creation of an offset strategy to counterbalance the direct loss of 1.6 hectares of a TEC and 25 plants of a rare flora species.

EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said potential environmental impacts on flora and vegetation at the Forrestfield station were identified as the key factor requiring evaluation by the EPA.

Offsets were also specified to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to flora and vegetation.

“The proposal directly impacts on the ‘Banksia woodlands over species rich dense shrublands’ community, identified as a threatened ecological community because it is very restricted,” Dr Vogel said.

“As a result of EPA’s assessment of these potential impacts, we were able to conclude that the proposal could be managed to meet our environmental objectives, subject to the implementation of several conditions.”

The EPA said detailed management plans for construction dewatering, acid sulfate soils and spoil would be managed by the Department of Water and the Department of Environment Regulation.

The EPA’s report to the minister is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing July 27.

Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at The full report can be viewed here, on the EPA website.