Government accused of betrayal

Mirrabooka rail-roaded: Opposition leader Mark McGowan with Mirrabooka MLA
Mirrabooka rail-roaded: Opposition leader Mark McGowan with Mirrabooka MLA

During the 2013 State Election campaign, the Liberal party promised to deliver the 22km MAX light rail project connecting North Perth, Mt Lawley, Dianella, Morley, Mirrabooka, Nedlands and Victoria Park to Perth’s central business district within five years.

But the project has since been deferred by three years because of state budget pressures.

Ms Freeman said in Parliament last month that the Liberal party had broken its promise and betrayed Mirrabooka residents who wanted effective transport.

‘Efficient transport in that eastern corridor is absolutely integral to the growth of that area,’ she said.

‘Not only has this Government not delivered on a commitment to the people of Mirrabooka, but also it has delayed urgent upgrade work in the area for two years.

‘My electorate is sitting on 7.6 hectares of Department of Housing land that has been flat-earthed; little roads have been constructed so they can commence development there, but that has been held off because of the Government’s commitment to the people of Mirrabooka on light rail.

‘That piece of land, which has been vacant since the 1950s and which I have talked about it in this place previously, has not been developed because this Government held it back through a commitment to the people for light rail, but, again, they have been let down.’

Premier Colin Barnett said the major reason for deferring the MAX light rail by three years was finance.

‘Also, an enormous amount of development work is required on both the MAX light rail and the rail through to the airport and into Forrestfield,’ he said.

‘In reality, I think it would be very difficult to manage two major urban rail projects, particularly of different forms, given that MAX is a light rail and a new transport mode for the Perth metropolitan area and it is very complicated in terms of planning, land acquisition and the like.

‘As the (former) treasurer has said on a number of occasions, we will be inviting private sector participation into that project. That work and the development of how it might be done are happening concurrently. Work will not stop on the light rail project.’

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said he was angry that going into the election Labor released a more comprehensive plan that saved $3 billion to pay for it.

‘The price to be paid is by the people of the northern suburbs,’ he said.

‘They are saying that in 2017 they will make a decision whether or not to deal with it – that is delaying the decision until after the next State election – that’s nothing that can be relied upon.’