By Megan Lack and Raelee Heath
Ellenbrook residents may at last receive the promised Morley to Ellenbrook railway after a decade of broken promises.
On Friday, Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he would invest $700 million to build the railway in Perth’s north-east if elected.
City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said residents might be doubtful the government would follow through but should take solace in the $20 million that was committed on this years state budget.
“I would think it’s got to start to alleviate their fears and … they would look at this as a commitment and the fact that it’s going ahead,” he said.
If elected, Labor promised to immediately allocate almost half of its $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA fund to the project.
It would be carried out in partnership with the McGowan State Government and would create thousands of jobs around Perth.
Mr Wainwright said the city would welcome any commitment to a railway line in the area.
“We’ve been out there advocating for better public transport for a long time, well over a decade, so we welcome any funding commitment to it,” he said.
“It will have a benefit for our growth corridor which includes the suburbs of Brabham, Dayton, Bennett Springs, because it will [possibly] run along those areas.
“We will look forward to it actually being completed … I am an optimist, I think it will be proceeded with.”
Swan View resident Ashleigh Hopkins said the train line would improve the area but was not confident that it would go ahead.
“There’s been a lot of proposals about extending the train line closer to Swan View, which is in the area, and it never really happened,” she says.
“So I’m kind of on the fence but looking at it being least likely to happen because there’s so many things that they promise that just don’t really go through with.
“It would be interesting if it did happen, because I know a lot of people in Ellenbrook that would benefit from it.”
Ms Hopkins said if anything was going to happen, it needed to be done soon.
“It would improve the area, but I’m just thinking about what the population would be like then because we’re going to be extending even further than Ellenbrook,” she said.
“By the time they get the train line to those areas people are going to be shouting out to get train lines even further because we’re just going to expand.
“If they’re going to do it, they need to hurry up.”
Mr Shorten said WA had not been treated fairly.
“We are doing this because we are very committed to, on one hand, making sure that Perth has the best possible transport system,” he said.
“It’s good news for jobs, good news for commuters, good news for traffic congestion … also because we believe that Western Australia hasn’t been receiving it’s fair share and we are committed to remedying that.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the aim was to start in 2019 and have the railway completed by 2022.
“The railway is hugely appreciated and a terrific demonstration of the commitment of the Federal Labor Party to Western Australia,” he said.
“The Morley-Ellenbrook railway is needed, the hundreds of thousands of people living in that corridor deserve decent public transport and the jobs that come with the project.”
The railway was first promised by the State Government in 2008, then again in 2013, but McGowan said the Liberal Party “failed to deliver”.
“Under my Labor Government we will ensure that this railway will be built,” he said.
“The people of the north-eastern corridor… have been let down too many times, between our government and Federal Labor the commitment will help us immensely.”