DOCUMENTS obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the extension of the rail line to Yanchep before 2023 was approved by former Transport Minister Troy Buswell in 2014.
A briefing note showed Mr Buswell and Transport director- general Reece Waldock signed off on the details for the final Public Transport Plan for Perth in 2031, which had been released for public comment in 2011.
It noted that developer Yanchep Beach Joint Venture was prepared to contribute $200 million in cash and kind to the extension of the Joondalup rail line to Yanchep.
North Metropolitan MLC Ken Travers requested the documents, which included a draft submission made to Infrastructure Australia in 2012 for Federal funding for the early provision of rail to Yanchep.
The proposal recommended the rail line be extended by 2020, five years earlier than minimum demand standards, describing it as a major opportunity to “develop a city based around a recognised transport node”.
It sought to address the “limited access options for residents in the northern corridor” and identified Yanchep as “one of the largest and most easily developable land packages left in the Perth metropolitan area”.
“The State Government of WA considers the early delivery of the rail solution a key opportunity to shape future land use in the northern suburbs of Perth with benefit to the State and national economies,” it said.
Cost for the project was estimated at $410 million, with 50/50 funding sought from Federal and State governments.
Mr Travers said the submission showed the rail extension would benefit the whole northern corridor.
“It was seen as transformational and one of two top priorities,” he said.
“I’m not aware of another single rail project that will both reduce congestion and create jobs.”
In June last year, the State Government confirmed the public transport plan had been abandoned and it is now developing the Perth Transport Plan for 3.5 million people and beyond.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the draft plan incorporating public submissions was provided to Mr Buswell but never approved for public release.
He said the proposed plan was “well advanced” and the department was working closely with the WA Planning Commission and Department of Planning.
“It will identify major structural changes to the transport network, including major new road and railway links,” he said.
“It will also provide a strategic context for the indicative priority of future transport projects in metropolitan Perth, ways to better manage demand and an extensive cycling network.”
Mr Nalder said the rail extension to Yanchep was being considered under the proposed plan, which was “much broader and longer term” than the previous one.
“The State Government is continuing to plan for and progress solutions to West Australians’ transport needs,” he said.
“These solutions range across smart transport, congestion busting initiatives, better public transport and major infrastructure projects.”
Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti criticised the Liberal Government’s failure to release a public transport plan in nearly eight years.
“If you don’t have a plan and if you don’t continually work on more funding and more services in growing areas all you are doing is creating congestion,” she said.
“What you see is new suburbs being created and you’re not getting the appropriate public transport links at the time the new suburbs are getting built so all you are doing is moving people into their cars and not onto public transport.”