McGowan: Labor’s rail plan back on track

ROB and Jeanette Howes bought their Ellenbrook home in 2011 with the hope a train line was in the not-too-distant future but are still waiting.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan last week announced a pledge to spend $2.5 billion building rail to Ellenbrook, Morley, Yanchep and Byford, complete the airport line to Forrestfield, and commence circle routes.

The Labor Party announced a similar rail system three years ago, costed at $3.8 billion.

Mr Howes said he used the bus route connection to Bassendean train station but would prefer a direct train line.

“If there was a train line to Ellenbrook, I would use it for work and with my family,” he said.

“I have calculated travel time to the city at an hour- and-a-half; sometimes the bus gets held up in traffic and you miss your train connection and then you are left waiting for half-an-hour for the next one.”

He said Ellenbrook residents were disadvantaged on weekends without a train line.

“People that work late in the city or go to a footy game in the afternoon or evening cannot get home unless they catch a taxi,” he said.

The State Government has criticised the Metronet plan, with Premier Colin Barnett reportedly saying it was “simply a list of rail projects that have been on various governments’ agendas for years”. It was also reported Transport Minister Dean Nalder said Mr McGowan was “dreaming” if he thought it could be completed for that price.

Mr McGowan’s responded: “(The) major point of difference between the WA Labor team and the Liberals (is) we support a rail line to Morley and Ellenbrook and the Liberal Party doesn’t. It is clear as day.”

Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said Metronet was not just a transport policy but also a planning policy.

“Reports and analysis show that to lay rail you are increasing the value of land around stations,” she said.