The State Opposition has called for the Federal Government to put its money where their mouth is when talking about infrastructure.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Commonwealth’s Smart Cities Plan in Melbourne this morning, which includes a $50 million budget to help plan major infrastructure projects across the country.
During his speech, Mr Turnbull spoke about the Forrestfield-Airport link.
WA Opposition planning and transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said she was not satisfied with the Federal Government’s contribution to WA infrastructure.
“It [the announcement] will change nothing about the airport link,” she said.
“What we really wanted was some commitment to some more rail projects in particular, for example, a Thornlie and Cockburn spur. So we wanted some more commitments but there’s nothing coming from it.”
Mr Turnbull said throwing more money at Australia’s transport problems would not solve anything.
“We really need a cultural gear change in the way we look at urban infrastructure, and much of those reforms need to be undertaken by the states and territories in local government,” he said.
“To realise the full value of the assessment, we’re inviting the Western Australian Government to make this [Perth Airport Link] the centrepiece of a new city deal, to harness our collective strength and resources and partner with the private sector to improve the liveability, accessibility and productivity of Perth and the state economy.”
Federal Labor candidate for Perth Tim Hammond said he was disappointed with the Federal Government’s announcement.
“The Prime Minister that started with so much promise and so much attractive rhetoric is giving us more of the same. Until we see the facts and figures in the budget, it’s impossible to know whether this is just simply empty talk from Malcolm Turnbull,” he said.
“The point here is that we are heading into a budget cycle where we have to be very very careful about committing to very big promises of infrastructure unless the numbers support it. Let’s wait and see whether Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party put their money where their mouth is.”
The new $2 billion train line will connect Forrestfield to the city, opening up Perth’s eastern suburbs to the rail network for the first time while getting Perth travellers to the airport five minutes faster than by car.
Construction of the Forrestfield-Airport link will start later this year and the project is expected to be completed by 2020.
Mr Turnbull said the link would create additional value to the city’s airport and the surrounding centres.