Underground rail link to Morley: will it be an election promise?

Dean Nalder.
Dean Nalder.

A HEAVY rail tunnel to Morley could loom as an election commitment for the Barnett Government as it looks to shore up votes in the marginal seat.

The tunnel was a key part of the Perth Transport Plan, an ambitious document outlining infrastructure projects the Government sees as vital to ensuring Perth retains its status one of the world’s most liveable cities.

In outlining the plan on Friday, Transport Minister Dean Nalder said freeing up the northern corridor was a priority and the underground rail link to Morley was crucial.

“I believe we’re coming up with a better outcome for people in the northern suburbs, which will be a combination of a direct bus route, on which we’re seeing very high customer satisfaction levels, and an underground rail solution,” Mr Nalder said.

“Heavy rail will need to play a bigger role … we do see that as a priority.

Adjunct Professor Fred Affleck, chair of the advisory board for the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC), said Morley is a key ‘activity centre’.

“I think the Morley connection is a very important one, it’s the same one that the MAX light rail was designed to address,” Dr Affleck said.

“It is the one major activity centre, in the whole of the inner ring of Perth, which is not at the moment served by a major transport link – it needs to be connected.”

Mr Nalder did not deny the Morley rail tunnel could be used for electioneering, but said he would start planning the project now if he had his way.

“The level of planning work will take some time around that Morley solution,” Mr Nalder said.

“I’m keen to get that planning work done as quickly as possible.

“My advice is it would take at least two years to finalise the planning of it.”

But planning will not begin immediately.

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

To have your say visit: www.transport.wa.gov.au/TransportPlan.