AUSTRALIA: The government of Western Australia expects to complete two more extensions to the Perth suburban rail network by late 2021, Premier Mark McGowan announced on August 21.

Revised business cases for the two projects have been submitted to federal agency Infrastructure Australia for approval. One would add a 13·8 km northern extension to the Joondalup Line, serving three new stations at Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep, costed at A$386m. The other would run for 17·5 km across the south of the conurbation, linking the current Thornlie spur with Cockburn Central station on the Mandurah Line. With stations at Nicholson Road, Ranford Road and Canning Vale, this A$474m project would parallel the existing mixed-gauge freight line to Fremantle.

The two lines are due to be built as part of the government’s A$2·9bn Metronet package, which also includes a 7·5 km extension of the Armadale Line to Byford and a 21 km Morley – Ellenbrook Line as well as the Forrestfield – Airport Link now under construction. Metronet has been promised A$1·26bn of federal funding including A$416m diverted from the cancelled Perth Freight Link road scheme. Describing Metronet as ‘one of the most ambitious public transport and planning initiatives in Western Australian history, McGowan said it would ‘revolutionise travel in Perth while creating countless jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for Western Australians’.

Explaining that ‘projects of this scale require significant planning, legislative changes and approvals’, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said tenders would be issued shortly to assist with the development of a planned station at Karnup, along with the reconstruction of Midland and Bellevue stations. Public consultation for the Thornlie Line Extension has already started, and an industry briefing day was held on July 26 to inform local companies about Metronet’s land use strategies, priorities, timetable and likely scope of work.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly committed to funding the two projects as part of a so-called ‘cities deal’ bringing together local, state and federal governments work to work on road and rail projects, housing, services and job creation. ‘We're pretty confident Malcolm Turnbull will keep to his word and deliver funds for these two projects’, Saffioti insisted.