Infrastructure Australia has added the Morley-Ellenbrook Line to its Infrastructure Priority List.
The decision by the federal government’s independent infrastructure advisory body signals that the project, which is part of the Metronet program in Western Australia, is of strategic importance. Infrastructure Australia found that the project will improve transport options, reduce car dependency and ease traffic congestion, said chief executive, Romilly Madew.
“We know one of the key areas to accommodate Perth’s growing population over the next 10 years will be the corridor that connects Ellenbrook to the Perth CBD.”
Infrastructure Australia calculated that the project had a cost-benefit ration of 1.2, providing $430 million in economic benefits for the wider community.
The recognition of the project’s importance comes after two contractors were shortlisted for the construction of the line in April and early work on upgrades to Bayswater station have begun.
WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said that the recognition of the project’s importance comes from the public transport that it will introduce to north-eastern Perth.
“The Ellenbrook line is the signature Metronet project, when complete it will be a game‑changer for the north eastern suburbs,” he said.
Enabling road infrastructure works on the Tonkin Gap highway will soon begin, which will pave the way for the rail line, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“We are working to fast track the Tonkin Gap upgrade, which will include rail enabling works down Tonkin Highway, with construction on this project expected to start in coming months.”
Saffioti also highlighted that the project will allow for transport-oriented development around the new stations.
“Infrastructure Australia has found the Morley-Ellenbrook Line has strategic value, will improve connectivity and transport links, while improving liveability by encouraging development around stations and unlocking economic potential of the area.”
The 21-kilometre line will include stations at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park, and Ellenbrook, with the option to build a future station at Bennett Springs East. The federal government is contributing $500 million to the line, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s determination.
“This announcement shows exactly why the Australian Government has committed $2.5 billion for network-shaping METRONET projects in Western Australia, which involves 70 kilometres of new heavy passenger rail and up to 18 new rail stations,” McCormack said.
“This includes our $500 million commitment to the jointly funded Morley-Ellenbrook Line project which will create jobs and support economic growth.”
A number of construction projects are continuing as part of the Metronet project around WA.
“This year alone we have six Metronet projects underway, plus the construction of our Bellevue Metronet railcar facility, creating thousands of local jobs and supporting local businesses,” said McGowan.
Saffioti noted that these projects are stimulating local economies.
“Metronet projects will be a key part of our post-COVID economic recovery, providing opportunities for local businesses and creating thousands of local jobs.”