An announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to put $10 million towards the proposed Lakelands Train Station has caused outcry on the floor of Western Australia's State Parliament.
Despite both the federal and state governments agreeing a train station in Lakelands needed to be built, there are contrasting tracks of thought over funding for the future of rail infrastructure in the Peel.
On Wednesday, WA transport minister Rita Saffioti labelled Mr Morrison's move as a "mockery" and a "shallow commitment".
While discussing the state government's METRONET program, Ms Saffioti called the $10 million pledge a "nothing commitment" and, instead, reiterated Labor's election promise to build a multi-level car park at Mandurah Train Station.
Interjecting in Wednesday's debate, WA tourism minister and Warnbro MP Paul Papalia even went as far as labelling Lakelands as "a train station that no one needs".
Mr Hastie said his state government colleagues' statements proved they were not taking north Mandurah seriously and "WA Labor had ignored the people of Lakelands and refused to commit to the station".
Andrew Hastie got $10 million, without a business case, for a train station that no one needs.WA tourism minister and Warnbro MP Paul Papalia.
When questioned by Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup if the government supported the station, Ms Saffioti stated she backed both Lakelands and Karnup.
That stance echoed a statement she provided to the Mandurah Mail on Tuesday.
"The state government continues its detailed planning for both Karnup and Lakelands stations through its METRONET team," the statement read.
Labor's federal candidate for Canning Mellisa Teede backed up that sentiment.
"The McGowan Government’s election commitments were the Karnup Station and the Mandurah Station carpark. But that does not exclude Lakelands Station from also being built in the future," she told the Mail.
"The state government’s METRONET team is already working on a business case for Lakelands Station."
However, unlike Karnup, that work on the Lakelands Train Station is seemingly being done in the dark.
Despite claiming the state government was continuing "detailed planning" for the proposed Lakelands Train Station through METRONET, the program's "comprehensive" website does not provide information on the local project.
Karnup Train Station, on the other hand, boasts a homepage with information on the proposed location and a timescale.
Planning is underway for the Karnup Train Station and it is expected to open in 2022.
WA premier and Rockingham MP Mark McGowan said while that was a "little way off" it was "important that the work is undertaken".
"It's 23 kilometres between the Warnbro and Mandurah stations, so we obviously have to do something in between there. I'm sure as the area grows, the station will meet the needs of the area," he said.
The proposed Lakelands Train Station also is not mentioned in the the state government's Perth and Peel@3.5 million:Transport Network planning framework, which was released in March 2018.
The suite of documents present a long-term growth strategy for land use and infrastructure provision for the Perth and Peel regions.
The report discusses an additional station on the Mandurah rail line at Karnup but skips over Lakelands.
A timeline of the proposed Lakelands Train Station:
- Land is purchased by state government for Lakelands Train Station.
- The City of Mandurah draws up the structure plan that includes the station.
- The Western Australian Planning Commission signed off on the local government's structure plan.
- 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. Ultimately a station will be built there, but it is a question of prioritisation,” Ms MacTiernan said.
- In November, Mandurah MP David Templeman said Lakelands was his preferred site for the station in an interview with the Mail. Less than a month after that comment the WA Labor Party pledged they would build a train station at Paganoni Road in Karnup if they won the state election in 2013.
- State Labor leader Mark McGowan announced plans to build a train station north of Mandurah at Karnup as part of their METRONET policy.
- Mr Hastie said the promise of a station in Lakelands was brought to his attention by residents.
- In 2017, the Lakelands Train Station received plenty of media attention as Mr Hastie ramps up his campaign. Mr Hastie said building Lakelands did not mean Karnup would have to miss out on a station.
- Then Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone set her sights on building a train station in the suburb of Lakelands and called on the government to deliver on the long-promised infrastructure.
- When the issue caused a political row in mid-2017, an online opinion poll conducted by the Mail indicated a slight favour towards Karnup rather than Lakelands. At the time of writing, from the 3,328 votes in the poll, 58.59 per cent voted for Karnup as the preferred site of the next train station on the Mandurah rail line. Those votes differ significantly from a survey undertaken by Mr Hastie. The 2017 survey received responses from more than 1600 people who live in north Mandurah and showed that that 90 per cent of residents wanted a train station in Lakelands.
- In March 2018, the state government released Perth and Peel@3.5million, which did not mention Lakelands Train Station but outlined plans for a station in Karnup.
- In April, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an $824 million infrastructure package for WA, which includes $2 million for a business case on Lakelands.
- A motion is carried in the City of Mandurah's council which reaffirms its stance that a future train station at Lakelands should be part of the planning for the Perth to Mandurah rail network.
- On February 25, federal and state Labor teamed up to pitch $32 million to build a multi-level car park at Mandurah Train Station, if their Canning candidate Mellisa Teede was elected. The plan would ease congestion at the station and take pressure off the government to create another station.
- On March 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed $10 million to the proposed station.
What are your thoughts on the proposed Lakelands Train Station? Send the Mandurah Mail team a letter via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter via @caitlynrintoul.