Perth Transport Plan: heavy rail to do the heavy lifting of Perth’s transport future


Dean Nalder delivers the blueprint for Perth’s transport future.
Dean Nalder delivers the blueprint for Perth’s transport future.

THE State Government has unveiled an “aspirational plan” for Perth’s transport future to ensure it remains “one of the world’s most livable cities”.

Among the cornerstones of the plan are a rail tunnel from the CBD to Morley, a road tunnel under the Swan River and a jump from 172km to 850km of off-road cycle networks.

But a rail link to Ellenbrook still looks at least a generation away, with the document only saying a spur from Marshall Road “would be considered in the long term”.

Speaking at a breakfast in front of Perth industry heavyweights on Friday morning, Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the plan was the result of an exhaustive, two-year process.

The document is a series of proposed infrastructure projects, designed to be implemented over the next 30 years as Perth’s population climbs towards 3.5 million people.

Produced in consultation with the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC), the report identified priority areas, and assigned a loose time frame for completion.

Priority projects were marked ‘by 2.7 million’ (meaning it should be completed by the time we reach a population of 2.7 million people), ‘by 3.5 million’ and ‘beyond 3.5 million’.

Mr Nalder said “public transport would need to do the heavy lifting” of the project, and added that the plan was a “living document” that “would be reviewed every five years”.

Among the heavy rail projects touted were the East Wanneroo Rail Link, servicing Morley, East Wanneroo and the northern suburbs.

Existing lines would be extended, with Joondalup reaching as far as Yanchep, Armadale extended to Byford, the Midland line to Bellevue while the Forrestfield line would connect to the Armadale line and through to Cockburn.

The freight component’s first target is the completion of the Perth Freight Link, with Mr Nalder declaring he was confident building would start on the troubled project soon.

“Yes we will undertake construction of Roe 8 by the end of this year,” he said.

There are also two new river crossings, with Stock Road extended northwards to connect with Stephenson Avenue, and a tunnel under the river to connect the Causeway to the Narrows Bridge.

The Government has asked for a three-month comment period on the proposals.

To have your say on the plan visit www.transport.gov.au/TransportPlan.

The plan has been warmly received by business.

But Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Deidre Willmott called for a bipartisan approach to future infrastructure projects to provide certainty.

“CCI has long called for a long-term infrastructure strategy for Western Australia and the business community would like to see an independent body – like Infrastructure WA – empowered with oversight over future infrastructure planning,” she said.

“An independent body would help identify key infrastructure priorities and create full transparency in funding allocation, to make sure taxpayers’ money is spent on projects that deliver the greatest benefit to the whole State.

“Our hope is that a long-term plan will encourage political parties to announce infrastructure projects that fit into that plan.

“This will provide business with much-needed certainty in the decisions that they make about where to invest and locate their business operations.”