AUSTRALIA: Perth's suburban network is primed for a major expansion to the north, south and east of the city under a plan announced by the Western Australia state government on June 29.

State Premier Alan Carpenter said the programme would be delivered in stages over two decades, building on the opening of the Mandurah Line in December last year (RG 2.08 p71). Among the projects Carpenter pledged to include is an extension of the Northern Suburbs Railway to Butler, Brighton, Alkimos and eventually to Yanchep. Transperth trains are also envisaged to serve Ellenbrook via the existing Midland line, whilst links to the city's airport are to be upgraded. The Armadale line, meanwhile, would be extended to serve communities around Byford.

The state is proposing a 'mass transit service' for the northeast of the metropolitan area, which is home to 120 000 residents but is not well served by the Joondalup and Midland lines. Carpenter also suggested a 'high speed' service could be introduced between Perth and Bunbury.

Planning & Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan is to establish a project team to draw together ideas already being worked on, and develop a detailed plan for the implementation of the strategy.

The Mandurah Line to the south of Perth opened fully in December 2007.