A federal package for Western Australia has been unveiled by the government for a suite of new infrastructure projects to be announced in next week’s budget.
Projects to build or improve rail, roads, bridges, and the Perth Airport precinct will be the beneficiaries of the WA cash splash.
Prime minister Scott Morrison emphasised the benefits of safer and accessible transport options, and how reducing travel times would help to support thousands of jobs.
“Our record funding commitment is boosting businesses and communities as part of the Government’s National Economic Recovery Plan,” Mr Morrison said.
“From upgrading the Great Eastern Highway and building METRONET, to improving roads and rail lines that are crucial to our grain growers and farmers in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt — these projects will support more than 4,000 direct and indirect jobs across WA.”
Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack noted that the funding announcement was part of the federal government’s plan to ‘help Australia bounce back stronger than ever’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since April last year, we have delivered NorthLink WA – Northern and Central Sections, which received $556 million in federal funding.
“We also partnered with the Western Australian Government to deliver the Great Northern Highway – Muchea to Wubin Upgrade, with a $276 million federal investment,” Mr McCormack added.
Speaking to the major METRONET projects, which will receive $347.5 million of the funding package, and other highway and roadworks, WA premier Mark McGowan said it was the biggest road and rail investment program WA has ever seen.
“This program has something for the city and regions, targeting major congestion pinch points in the eastern, northern and southern suburbs which are currently experiencing major population growth,” he said.
METRONET projects will improve the Queens Park Station and Canning Station, as well as extend railways at Byford. It will also contribute to elevation works for a string of train stations.
WA Senator and AG Michaelia Cash and Minister for Communications, Urban infrastructure Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, also issued statements about the federal spending on Tuesday. They emphasised project features including industry certainty, supply chain improvements and digital technology investments as a boon for the state.
“Digital technology is transforming every aspect of modern life including transport, and with these investments Western Australia will be at the forefront,” Mr Fletcher said.