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The McGowan Government’s first Budget included $20 million for detailed planning for the Morley-Ellenbrook rail link.

Ministers clash over Ellenbrook train line

THE McGowan Government has hit back at Pearce MHR Christian Porter’s claim the State Budget has delivered nothing but broken promises to residents living in Ellenbrook, Aveley and The Vines.

On Thursday, September 7 the McGowan Government’s first Budget included $20 million for detailed planning for the Morley-Ellenbrook rail link and $49m for the Lord St duplication project, incorporating earthworks for the Ellenbrook rail line and preliminary works at the train station site.

But no money for actually starting to build the rail line.

Four days later Mr Porter, who some commentators say could be at risk of losing his seat at the next federal election said “WA Labor had run a deceitful state election campaign based on promises it knew it could never deliver”.

“Labor promised that construction on the Ellenbrook rail line would commence in 2019 and would be completed by 2022,’’ he said.

“WA Labor has not allocated a single dollar in their state budget to building the train line to Ellenbrook.

“For the next four years the only funding allocated is a pitiful amount to look at future planning options for the rail line.’’

Mr Porter said Mark McGowan and WA Labor knew exactly what they were doing when they went to the election.

He said they had proven once again that they would do whatever it took to win seats with no regard for the people who placed faith in their lies.

“WA Labor must be held to account,’’ he said.

“Let’s not stop until WA Labor make good on their promise to start building the Ellenbrook train line in 2019.”

Mr Porter also criticized Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw for publicly claiming “during the election that over 10,000 local jobs would be created by this project, and now construction isn’t even on the cards”.

Transport Minister and West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti there were three sources of funding for the rail line.

“There’s the land sales and value capture, there’s consolidated fund contribution for further years and of course, there will be the federal government’s contribution,’’ she said.

“They’re the sources we outlined at the time of the election and they’re the sources that we believe we can implement.”

She said Mr Porter was the state Treasurer for more than two years before the 2013 election and failed to allocate one cent for the Ellenbrook rail project, even though the Liberal Party committed to it at the time of the 2008 election.

Ms Saffioti and Ms Shaw, who questioned the Transport Minister about the issue in State Parliament on Tuesday, September 12, both called on Mr Porter to guarantee federal funding for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line.

They said the state government was committed to delivering the project and had called on the federal government – and Mr Porter – to allocate funding towards the project “given $1.2 billion was allocated to other Metronet projects by the federal government, without business cases being completed”.

Ms Saffioti said there was nothing stopping Mr Porter and the federal government from providing a funding commitment for the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

Ms Shaw said she welcomed Mr Porter’s new interest in Ellenbrook and the Liberals long-overdue recognition of the community’s need for better public transport.

“In April, we announced the Lord St duplication project, which incorporates works at the station site in the town centre,’’ she said.

She said funding had been provided for that in the budget and she welcomed the funding for the detailed planning and business case.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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