The McGowan Government has announced $3.4 million in funding for a high-level investigation into a faster train to Bunbury, as part of the upcoming 2020-21 Mid-year Review.
In October the Commonwealth Government allocated $4 million in investigative funding in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.
The State Government has agreed to match the Commonwealth’s investment – $3.4 million coupled with $600,000 already spent by the State on planning for the fast rail option.
The new funding will enable the project team to develop a strategic business case outlining the economic and population conditions required for the new piece of transport infrastructure to be viable.
The proposal would be to provide a sub-90min rail link between Perth and Bunbury with the current existing rail service, the Australind, taking two hours and 30 minutes.
This is long term planning for a fast train that, if the study finds it feasible, is still realistically many years away.
The study will also consider population growth, travel patterns, land use planning and access to jobs, services and affordable housing.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“As part of the Mid-year Review we’ve allocated $3.4 million towards a feasibility study for a fast train between Perth and Bunbury.
“Along with earlier funding committed by the Commonwealth earlier this year and $600,000 already spent by the State, we now have a total of $8 million allocated to undertake investigations and build a business case.
“This is planning for the future and I anticipate a lot of the work will focus on the best corridor and route for a future train.
“A lot has happened since earlier studies into this project have been completed, including the commitment to extend the Armadale Line down to Byford and the significant growth of some of the towns between Perth and Bunbury – so there’s a lot of new factors to consider.
“We’re ensuring Bunbury has quality access to public transport, with six new Australind railcars to be built locally in WA and on track to be delivered in 2023.”
As stated by Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
“This funding will allow us to investigate what the future of rail transport between Bunbury and Perth looks like.
“The small towns between Perth and Bunbury are growing and it’s important we start considering now what services and infrastructure they and Bunbury need in the future.
“We know historically when you put in these sorts of rail services, it leads to investment so I’m very keen to see the outcomes of this work.
“I am confident the total rail package we have created, including the Australind and its renewal and putting aside funding for the fast rail to Bunbury, signals a very positive rail future for Bunbury.”
As stated by Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke:
“I know how important access to quality rail services is for my electorate, which is why I’m so pleased the McGowan Labor Government have allocated funding towards this important fast train study.
“There are so many wonderful towns between Perth and Bunbury – Harvey, Pinjarra and Cookernup just to name a few – and I know access to this sort of infrastructure would create amazing economic and tourism opportunities.
“Only the McGowan Government has a plan for the South-West region, including a plan for restoring the Australind to its former glory with new railcars to be made in Western Australia.”