State debt might delay Yanchep train

The release of WA Treasury’s financial projections this week show how difficult it will be to get the train line extended to Yanchep. File Picture


YANCHEP residents keen to have a train line in the area sooner rather than later might be disappointed after WA Treasury dealt both the major parties a reality check this week.

The City of Wanneroo might also be frustrated in its Connect Wanneroo campaign which calls for the extension of the Mitchell Fwy to Romeo Rd as well as extending the rail line to Yanchep.

WA Labor announced its plan to extend the Joondalup train line by 13km to Yanchep at a cost of $386 million with construction to start in 2019 on Tuesday, February 7.

Soon after Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan of course questioned Labor’s Metronet costings.

Then two days later the 2016-17 pre-election financial projections statement released by the state’s Under Treasurer Michael Barnes as required by the Government Financial Responsibility Act 2000 confirmed what many residents who try to remain politically savvy have probably feared.

Mr Barnes said Western Australia was facing a significant debt challenge and the incoming government (whether Labor or Liberal) after the March 11 State Election would need a clear and robust plan to address the state’s debt problem.

He said growth in the WA economy would be less than what had been estimated in the mid-year review with gross state product now forecast to grow by 0.5 per cent in 2016-17, down from an estimated growth of 1 per cent.

Also he said business investment was forecast to fall by a greater percentage than predicted in the mid-year review, the fiscal outlook over the forward estimates period had deteriorated and public sector debt was now forecast to reach $41.1 billion up from 39.7b.

Mr Barnes’ statement took some of the shine off Mr McGowan’s Metronet announcement during which he said the rail extension to Yanchep would take thousands of cars off congested roads such as the Mitchell Fwy and Wanneroo Rd.

Mr McGowan said WA Labor’s Metronet plan included three new stations – Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep – and create 1374 jobs.

Meanwhile the Barnett Government’s updated transport plan Transport @ 3.5 million, which says the Joondalup line will be extended to Yanchep to cater for growing suburbs by the time Perth’s population reaches 2.7 million is of little comfort to Yanchep residents battling traffic congestion in the area as Yanchep News Online understands Perth’s population is expected to reach 2.7 million by about 2031.

The Barnett Government’s updated plan says there will be high frequency bus services in Yanchep and Alkimos by the time Perth’s population reaches 3.5 million.

The transport plan says Mitchell Fwy will be extended to tie in with Indian Ocean Dr in the north and be constructed to freeway standard to Toreopango Ave, Yanchep by the time Perth’s population reaches 3.5 million.

The transport plan also says the proposed Whiteman Yanchep Hwy will link Tonkin Hwy around Gnangara Rd with Mitchell Fwy at Pipidinny Rd, Eglinton about the same time.