A LANDMARK $2.3 billion roads and rail deal struck between the Federal and State Governments will create 6000 new jobs in WA over the next two years.
Lauded as a “game changer for WA”, the multibillion-dollar windfall will ignite a construction boom in Perth, ease traffic congestion and kick-start the Metronet railway expansion.
The Sunday Times can reveal full details of the 17 roads and rail projects that have been agreed after two months of negotiations concluded this week.
Crucially, the Turnbull Government has agreed to re-direct $1.2 billion in Federal funds previously allocated to the now cancelled Perth Freight Link.
Tuesday’s Federal Budget will also inject another $400 million to the building spree, bringing the Commonwealth’s commitment to $1.6 billion — far more than previously expected.
The State Government, which will pump in $745 million by redirecting money from the PFL and savings on other projects, lauded the deal as a “massive victory for common sense and for WA’s economy”.
“This will be the most significant boost for local jobs this State has seen in a long time,” Premier Mark McGowan said last night.
In a major victory for the McGowan Government, $1.26 billion was secured for Metronet. This includes the removal of the level crossing at Denny Avenue and Davis Road ($62 million), a depot at Bellevue ($25 million) and business case development ($40 million).
Subject to positive assessment of business cases by Infrastructure Australia, $700 million will fund the Thornlie-Cockburn link and an extension of the Joondalup Line to Yanchep.
Construction of both rail lines is due to start in 2019.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann described talks with the McGowan Government as “very constructive” and said the agreement was “very much in WA’s interest”.
While he remained convinced the PFL project — cancelled after Labor’s State election victory — was “critically important” to WA, Senator Cormann said the Federal Government had to “make some pragmatic decisions in the public’s interest”.
“Our Government and the State Government sat down, talked things through and with goodwill and a bit of give and take on both sides, we have been able to put together a substantial $2.3 billion infrastructure package for WA, including a $1.6 billion Federal funding contribution,” Senator Cormann, a WA Senator, said.
He said the deal recognised the priorities of the new State Government, such as Metronet but also incorporates Federal Government-supported projects.
This includes components of the Roe 8 project, such as a $100 million extension of Murdoch Drive to Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway.
Other Federal priorities include planning the next stage of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road ($12.5 million), a freeway on-ramp at Manning Road and Kwinana Freeway ($35 million) and yet-to-be determined regional road safety schemes ($44.2 million).
Other significant projects to start in the next two years as part of the Federal-State deal include:
The Federal Budget will include a $226 million GST top-up for Western Australia.
Senator Cormann said the payment would be made before June 30.
The renegotiation of the Roe 8 contract between the State Government and contractors is set to be signed in days to allow work to proceed on the new projects.
“We will be able to do that now and also deliver ongoing jobs for so many other West Australians,” he said.
“Pushing ahead with Perth Freight Link so close to the election was wrong but we’ve moved past that now and we’re getting on with the job.”
Senator Cormann acknowledged the PFL would not be built in the next four years but said the Federal Government would “provide the necessary funding for the PFL project to any future Western Australian government, which proceeds with the project”.
WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the “decision to not proceed with the deeply flawed PFL project was carefully thought through and in the long-term interests of the State”.
Source: Spagnolo.J, 07/05/2017, $2.3 billion jobs boost for WA, PerthNow, http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/23-billion-jobs-boost-for-wa/news-story/b53b044c6aa3848a4c809169a1ea7645
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