Perth Transport Plan about priorities says Transport Minister

Dean Nalder delivered the blueprint for Perth’s transport future last Friday.
Dean Nalder delivered the blueprint for Perth’s transport future last Friday.

THE State Government’s Perth Transport Plan for 2050 includes a freight tunnel under the Swan River and bridges across the river, but no Curtin Avenue upgrade.

“There’s not a Curtin upgrade, but what we’ve got there is the Stock Road tunnel connection to be able to take the freight away from that coastal area,” Transport Minister Dean Nalder told the Western Suburbs Weekly after launching his plan on Friday.

Mr Nalder said he had not looked at where a tunnel could appear in the western suburbs, but his planners believed there was spare land for it and a future government would have to decide on its details.

Government maps showed a direct north route from Stock Road, Attadale, indicating a tunnel could appear near Mount Claremont before heading further north.

The plan for road, rail and cycling routes developed over the past two years is open for comment until October, before the Government announces its priority project as it heads to a state election next March.

A cycling bridge from Dalkeith to Point Walter and across Blackwall Reach to Mosman Park was recommended by the planners to increase transport connections and cycle paths to 850km.

In the May Budget, the Government took $40 million allotted to improve the south end of Curtin Avenue to pay for a rapid bus service for Ellenbrook.

Mr Nalder said he thought there were still “opportunities” to improve the avenue, which carries Fremantle Port trucks to northern suburbs, but transport issues in other parts of Perth should be prioritised.

“And what we’ve got to do is sit back, understand where those pressures are, what projects should have priority and how they connect into that long-term plan so we’re doing things that benefit the long term,” Mr Nalder said.

The plan reinforced Mr Nalder’s support for truck toll roads, such as the controversial $1.9 Perth Freight Link, to help pay for future large transport projects.

Mr Nalder said it was estimated PFL trucks would get a $1.09/km saving in efficiencies, fuel and time, and if 50c/km was tolled, about $8 billion would return in benefits to the transport sector and a net $3.5 billion to government for other projects.

Rethink the Link (RtL) convenor Kate Kelly said a lack of detail in the plan about the PFL was “noted”, but RtL did welcome inclusion of the Latitude 42 container transfer rail yard near Kwinana, but only if there was a commitment to a nearby outer port, which could also help reduce Curtin Avenue truck congestion

“We are concerned the Government seems incapable of fulfilling any transport promise, when the only thing they have committed to in this plan is a Morley rail line,” Ms Kelly said.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan, spruiking his revamped Metronet transport plan, said voters should be sceptical about the Government’s plan because it had cancelled the Ellenbrook Rail Line and Max Light Rail in the past.

“There are no costings, no firm commitments, just aspirations,” Mr McGowan said.