$1.4 million upgrade of regional stations in WA now complete

The new North Dandalup and Cookernup stations are now open for passengers on Transwa’s Australind route.

The North Dandalup and Cookernup train stations shared in upgrades worth $1.28 million as part of the McGowan Government’s election commitment to improve transport in south-west WA.

The $750,000 upgrade of the North Dandalup station and $650,000 upgrade of the Cookernup station began last year.

Both train stations’ existing low-level platforms are now raised platforms to be fully compliant with Disability Discrimination ACT standards.

The opening of the towns’ new train stations are ahead of the six new diesel railcars to replace the existing Australind service between Perth and Bunbury currently being built and commissioned in Bellevue.

Two car bays and one disability parking bay, line marking and bollards, new kerbing, and bitumen surfaces have also been installed at both stations, as well as better lighting, signage, fencing, and pedestrian paths. 

A number of other regional station upgrades including Yarloop and Carrabin have also been completed in the past 18 months.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Australind service is a local icon which has operated for more than 70 years.

“These small local stations provide a vital transport link for people in more isolated parts of the South-West – but due to their age, the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with standards of accessibility,” Saffioti said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said “The South-West is an important part of our State and it’s vital we provide public transport infrastructure for local residents, which is why we have upgraded four local train stations over the past 18 months.”

Collie Railway roundhound and turntable receive heritage listing

Western Australia’s sole remaining railway roundhouse and timetable has received heritage listing from the WA State Government. 

Built in the 1950s for steam trains serving the coal industry, the roundhouse and turntable will be restored by the McGowan Government thanks to a $998,532 grant from the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund. 

Member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray called the move a “step in the right direction”, stating that the Collie community had been advocating for the restoration and recognition of the roadhouse.

“The new heritage listing of the roundhouse will be welcomed by the community as we move towards unlocking its true potential as an attraction that people will travel from across the State to visit and learn about its rich history,” he said.

The McGowan Government said that the restoration would “unlock heritage, tourism and small business opportunities”, providing an avenue to diversify the region’s economy.

The turntable, which is electrically articulated and made from timber and metal, is the only one of its type left in WA, while the roadhouse is constructed from off-form concrete.

“The Collie Roundhouse is a significant historical site that demonstrates the development of coal mining in Collie,” said WA Acting Heritage Minister Stephen Dawson.

“This reflects the growth of Western Australia in the mid-20th century and the increased consumption of coal for electricity generation that came with that growth.

“The built form of the place makes it a dramatic and dominant building located on the western entry into Collie.”

BHP proposal approval lays out 100-year plan for the Pilbara

Western Australia’s McGowan Government has approved mining giant BHP’s plans for expansion in the Pilbara region, which includes plans for the company’s freight rail operations.

BHP’s plan lays out a strategic mining proposal for the next 50 to 100 years in the region, including mining, rail, storage, dams and associated infrastructure, with a plan to halve future approval timeframes. 

BHP is a freight operator on the Mt Newman and Goldsworthy railways, which run from the town of Port Hedland in the northern Pilbara.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has also recommended BHP’s plan, subject to certain conditions. Particularly crucial to the EPA’s assessment was that BHP’s plan not significantly impact important regions such as Karijini National Park and Fortescue Marsh.

“The EPA gave BHP’s strategic proposal careful consideration, including considering the impacts to fauna, flora, surface and groundwater, air quality, landforms and social surrounds,” said WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson. 

“Strategic proposals allow the EPA to take a bigger picture view of the potential environmental impacts the proposals may have, considering the cumulative impacts rather than on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed.”

The WA Government added that the proposal would help to reduce red tape and green tape, allowing the EPA to assess the cumulative effect of future proposals rather than on a case-by-case basis.

“Industry has been crying out for this type of plan. It recognises the need to reduce unnecessary ‘green tape’ to increase investor confidence, and pave the way for more jobs,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

“It is another sign our economy is improving with the major miner taking a long-term view of its proposals in the State.