Capes rail bid

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
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Busselton mayor Grant Henley.
Camera IconBusselton mayor Grant Henley.

Several residents and South West stakeholders are pushing for the Perth to Bunbury fast-train feasibility study to be extended to Busselton in the long term with Margaret River a future option.

The Federal Budget provided $4 million to investigate options on the Perth to Bunbury Faster Rail Corridor as part of the Major Projects Business Case Fund on Tuesday. The City of Busselton has kept retired rail networks in the Ludlow Tuart Forest area, limiting the clearing needed to develop a new rail network to the fastest-growing regional city in WA.

Mayor Grant Henley said he “absolutely supported” an investigation into continuing the rail network to Busselton so residents could live in a regional area but travel to Perth for work.

“Any investigation should also look at the extension to Busselton and possibly even further into Margaret River down the track,” he said.

“We understand that road construction now has plans to include future rail in it and we’ve also looked at the long-term development of the district to have rail networks and be built into the future Busselton outer bypass project.”

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said she welcomed the study but it was “essential” the State Government committed $4m to the $8m feasibility study.

“Busselton should also be considered as part of this study, given its strategic position in the South West region as well as its obvious attraction to visitors,” she said.

“While this is an ambitious project, it is important we have a long-term vision to shape the future growth of the South West, including the next stage in transport. Given growth projections, a rail connection between Bunbury and Busselton was a long-term project that was flagged under the Barnett Liberal government and it is important that it remains a vision.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the State would continue to work with the Federal Government on key details of the study but would not be drawn on the extension to Busselton. “This was an idea that has been driven by local Bunbury MLA Don Punch and I wrote to the Commonwealth Government requesting this funding in August,” she said.

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