Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban supported Mr Nalder’s comments that a rail line to the northeast corridor would be at least 10 years away under the current State Government.
“We do understand the importance of public transport out here,” Mr Nalder said.
“So as part of our planning we are exploring rail, but we are being honest and say we find it hard to justify a rail in the short term.
“I find it difficult to say there will be a rail out here before 10 or 15 years because there are other priorities that will need it beforehand.
“We have a couple of headwinds in the economy currently that have slowed things down but the future prospects for Perth are really strong.”
Mr Alban said road infrastructure was one of the high priorities to the people of Ellenbrook and its surrounds.
“Ellenbrook has half a dozen main avenues out of it,” he said.
“People do not travel in one direction; they travel north, south, east and west.
“Eighty-six per cent of the people in Ellenbrook use their car and they’re quite happy for you and others to catch the train because they want an uncongested road system.”
The Transport Forum was held on the eve of stage one of the NorthLink WA project.
“What we’re doing is we’re creating a second freeway,” Mr Nalder said of the 37km non-stop link from Morley to Muchea.
“We know this whole northeastern corridor is of economic importance.
“We know that the industrial areas around Kewdale are running out of room and we also know Perth is scheduled to grow to a city of 3.5 million people by the 2040s, and towards five million by the end of 2060s.
“So we have to start to plan how that’s going to work.”
That plan, according to Mr Nalder, is for Ellenbrook to become an industrial hub.
“It’s not just where people live; we also have to understand where jobs are going to be created and where industry can be,” Mr Nalder said.
“Part of the long-term planning that’s going on for this whole precinct is for north of Ellenbrook to be an industrial complex because we will have rail that comes through, and we create a freeway for the freight movement to take it towards the Pilbara. We can actually start to develop a large industrial complex which will create jobs and that’s what we want, to really develop this area.
“Part of the planning that goes with that is the public transport aspects.”
Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said it appeared building a rail line to Ellenbrook was too hard for the Government.
“They don’t want to build a rail line,” she said.
“They have no public transport solution for Ellenbrook.
“Only Metronet will solve the long-term congestion problems facing Perth.
“It is more than just the Ellenbrook Line, because our plan will see the development of an integrated and co-ordinated network, including important east-west links.”
Mr Nalder disagreed, and said Metronet was flawed.
“They (the Opposition) have it coming off Bayswater to come through to Ellenbrook,” he said.
“They have it joining into the Midland line, but there is not enough capacity on that line it would have to be duplicated, and a second line would have to be created all the way into the city.
“So there are problems with their thinking around that, and I’m hearing they may be changing their model.”
However, Ms Saffioti said the Midland line carried only 10 per cent of daily boardings.