Passenger Rail

Saffioti calls for ‘big slice’ of $10bn pie

Western Australian transport minister Rita Saffioti says the state’s Metronet urban rail plan deserves a significant portion of the Turnbull Government’s newly-announced $10 billion National Rail Program fund.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the fund as part of the Budget on May 9, and while some critics have questioned the lack of money actually listed in the forward estimates, Saffioti has moved quickly to start the bidding process.

“Now that the Federal Government has realised the importance of trains and public transport, it is time they get behind Western Australia’s plan for Metronet,” the minister said on May 11.

“Metronet is a transformational project that will revitalise parts of the city and create better connections to jobs, education and essential services.”

The Budget included a $760 million commitment from the Commonwealth to Metronet, outside of the National Rail Program, although this was not ‘new’ money, being reassigned from the cancelled Perth Freight Link toll road.

The current funding package is for stage one of the Metronet program. Saffioti said the McGowan Government in WA was prepared to “fight for funding” to get the rest of the money it needs.

“It’s time WA got its fair share of infrastructure,” she said.

“We have the projects and they deserve funding – it’s time for the Federal Government to take Western Australia seriously.”

Metronet includes the creation of a complete ‘Circle Line’ by linking Thornlie to Cockburn, the extension of the Joondalup Line to Yanchep, a new Morley-Ellenbrook Line, the extension of the Armadale Line to Byford, and the removal of level crossings around the urban rail network.