ELLENBROOK has again appeared to miss out, this time in the State Government’s Perth Transport Plan for 3.5 million People and Beyond, announced by Transport Minister Dean Nalder this morning.
The plan, which took two years to be developed by transport planning experts, breaks down future bus network, rail links, roads and cycle path projects into three stages.
“High priority” projects required by 2031, when population is estimated to reach 2.7 million; “medium priority” projects needed between 2031 and 2050, when the population should grow to 3.5 million; and “low priority” projects needed after 2050.
According to the Government, the contentious train line to Ellenbrook would not be required for more than 30 years.
The announcement will likely ruffle the feathers of frustrated residents, promised heavy rail in the Barnett Government’s 2008 election campaign.
“If you look at the population, it just isn’t there to sustain a capital investment at this point in time of putting the rail there,” Mr Nalder said, the same answer given to The Advocate earlier this year.
“But we’re looking at much better connections in the short term.
“Bus rapid transit routes in Ellenbrook will connect to Midland, Bassendean and the new Marshall Road Station on the proposed East Wanneroo line.”
Pressed after the conference on whether the government would go to next year’s state election with more than the Rapid Bus Transit (RBT), Mr Nalder said the RBT would have its own road with no intersections and be separated from train tracks.
However, he said there was a need to connect Ellenbrook to more than one point and nearby Midland would play a greater role in connecting Ellenbrook to the plan because of hospital and universities being built in the area.
Mr Nalder also said planners had indicated to him that the connections would not be required until after Perth reaches 3.5 million people.
“As I’ve said, there can be strategic reasons in the future that governments bring that forward to facilitate faster, greater urbanisation of those areas,” he said.
“I’m not committing at this point in time to anything in particular, but what I’m saying is future governments or this current government, if decision like that are taken, then they need to be able to articulate to the community why.”
Mr Nalder indicated a cash-strapped State Government was also a factor in the decision.
“There are lots of projects we’d like to commit to but we can’t,” he said.
“We don’t have an unlimited amount of capital, there fore we have to prioritise projects,” he said.
“If you bring something forward then you’re pushing something else back.”