THERE is more good news about the proposed Morley-Ellenbrook rail line but also some sobering considerations.
First the good news – on Friday the Turnbull Government committed $500 million towards the construction of the Morley-Ellenbrook line.
After the announcement Premier Mark McGowan joined Transport Minister and West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti and Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw for a walk through the Ellenbrook Central shopping centre where they chatted with shop owners and customers.
All the Ellenbrook residents Echo News spoke to – except for one who thought fixing the GST issue was more important – said they would use the train once the line to Ellenbrook was built.
Brian and Sandra Maher said at present they drove from Ellenbrook to Guildford to get the train.
Mark Phillips and Andre Herbu both said once the line was built they would use the train to get to Perth.
Ballajura resident Trixie Golding, who was at the shops with her niece Millie Taylor of Henley Brooks, said she would catch the train to the city and then down to Mandurah to visit friends.
Mr McGowan said the state government had been working hard on the commonwealth government to contribute some funding and that the two governments had been talking about the issue for months before a deal had been finalised on Thursday, April 26.
Ms Saffioti said it was the first time the Liberal Party had committed money to the Ellenbrook line and was recognition that Ellenbrook was a major centre.
“And (it recognises) that the debate on whether Ellenbrook should get a rail line is well and truly over and we’re just in the process of making it happen.’’
Ms Shaw said she understood how important the announcement was to Ellenbrook residents.
“We’ve been fighting for this for a long time,’’ she said.
“I’m so excited that we are finally delivering it.
“It’s going to absolutely bring new energy and vitality to Ellenbrook town central.’’
The sombre news is there is a federal election looming and Pearce MHR Christian Porter holds his seat with a margin of 3.6 per cent so both the Turnbull Government and the Federal Opposition are splashing the cash around – Bill Shorten promised last October if he won the election he would give $700 million towards building the Ellenbrook line.
Also the McGowan Government still needs to find the rest of the money to pay for the rail line, which has been estimated to cost $1000 million.
State Opposition leader Mike Nahan said he would be keen to see how, in the upcoming Budget, the McGowan Government would fund its share of the capital component of the project.
“At the election, the government made commitments to infrastructure projects and said it could fund them while also paying down debt, the Liberal Opposition will hold them to account for those commitments,’’ he said.
“The federal government has delivered significant funding to these projects, the McGowan Government now needs to outline to Western Australians how they will fund their share, without increasing taxes or introducing new taxes and without increasing debt.”
A joint statement from the federal and state governments said there would be other opportunities for Western Australia to access federal funding for “vital productivity enhancing and congestion-busting infrastructure”.
By Anita McInnes