Time to build the Lakelands train station | OPINION, POLL

The history of the Lakelands Train Station is long. Too long for a piece of infrastructure that hasn’t even been built.

The station has been on the drawing board since at least 2001 when the state government bought the land to build it.

In 2004 the City of Mandurah drew up the structure plan that included it and in 2006 the Western Australian Planning Commission had signed off.

The Mandurah line came, along with promises and commitments, but the station never materialised.

In 2008, then transport minister Alannah MacTiernan told parliament the Lakelands station could be built for a minimum of $15 million and developer Peet had offered to put in $10 million towards the cost.

“As I said, I can understand that the people of Lakelands would benefit from that,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“Ultimately a station will be built there, but it is a question of prioritisation.”

Mandurah MP David Templeman said before the 2013 election that Lakelands was his preferred site for a new train stop to reduce pressure on Mandurah’s busy station. But the Labor opposition committed to Karnup instead.

Here we are 10 years later, Colin Barnett and his Liberal government have come and gone with barely a mention of Lakelands, and now the priority for the incoming McGowan Labor Government remains a new station at Karnup.

The people of Lakelands, who bought on the understanding a station would be built, are right to be disappointed. This doesn’t mean that a station at Karnup shouldn’t be built.

But there are now more than 800 families living in Lakelands, a primary school and two high schools (with more under construction or planned).

There is a population of 5000 people which is set to explode over the next 10 years.

Mayor Marina Vergone has the support of Canning MP Andrew Hastie in pushing for the Lakelands station, which will be important if the project is to attract Commonwealth funding from the new $10 billion National Rail Program.

Mandurah MP David Templeman still supports the construction of the station, but acknowledges Labor’s election commitment is the construction of the Karnup station.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti didn’t say if she would support a station in Lakelands, but reiterated the government’s commitment to Karnup.

If we are to win federal funding for the project, the state government has to support the project.

Both major political parties, in both the state and federal arenas, are on record as supporting a Lakelands Train Station – it is a mystery how it fell off the agenda – and if there are federal funds available, why don’t we just get it done?

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