Lakelands Train Station: State and federal governments quarrel over picking up the bill

QUARREL: West Australian transport minister Rita Saffioti and Canning MP Andrew Hastie have contrasting views on the funding of a train station in Lakelands. Photos: Supplied.
QUARREL: West Australian transport minister Rita Saffioti and Canning MP Andrew Hastie have contrasting views on the funding of a train station in Lakelands. Photos: Supplied.

The political war of words behind the proposed Lakelands Train Station has rumbled on, with the state and federal governments quarreling over the funding split of the Mandurah project.

A public transport link in the fast-growing Mandurah suburb has been touted for many years, but the state government prioritised a station at Karnup in its Metronet plan.

Canning MP Andrew Hastie campaigned on the back of a funding commitment for the project at the federal election earlier this year, where the pledge of $35 million towards the station seemingly played a role in the Liberal retaining his seat.

However, West Australian transport minister Rita Saffioti has called on the commonwealth to provide "serious funding" if the proposal is to become a reality - saying the state government "remained open" to a station at Lakelands.

"The federal member for Canning has promised a lot but delivered very little when it comes to Lakelands Station," she said.

"If he expects the McGowan government to deliver his unfunded commitment through Metronet, then he needs to get his government to come up at least 80 per cent of the total cost of the station.

"Federal members in all other parts of Western Australia and other states have managed to attract a fair contribution from the federal government for infrastructure projects.

"If the Liberal Party were actually serious about building Lakelands Station, they would have put forward significant funds to construct it long ago."

Ms Saffioti contested only $10 million of the cost of the station, which she estimated was $75 million, was allocated in the federal budget.

Mandurah MP David Templeman echoed his state colleague's views.

"My electorate knows that the only government to deliver rail to Mandurah is a Labor government," he said.

"The Liberal Party's historic aversion to rail services for Mandurah continues to drag out the process of getting a new station built in Lakelands.

"We've heard a few announcements from the Liberal Party about funding Lakelands but they still haven't come up with the funding, despite a federal election campaign based on delivering big infrastructure congestion busting projects.

"Instead, WA taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for the Member for Canning's unfunded commitment.

"I want the Lakelands station to be delivered by Metronet, and I urge Mr Hastie to fund this project the same as every other infrastructure project in this state."

In retort, Mr Hastie said the only current funding allocated to make a station in Lakelands a reality had been delivered by him.

"WA Labor have flipped since the election - just a short time ago Labor was telling us they weren't going to build Lakelands Train Station," he said.

"Their candidate for Canning (Mellisa Teede) wouldn't back it. Now the Member for Mandurah is under the pump and worried about losing his job, so they've changed their tune. That's thanks to the strong campaign our community has run over the last two years.

"But you've got to match words with action. Labor still haven't committed a single dollar towards building Lakelands Train Station.

"We have committed $35 million toward the construction of Lakelands Train Station. That's 50 per cent of the $70 million minister Saffioti said the project would cost just a few months ago. Labor need to get serious and commit their share toward construction."

Federal minister for population, cities and urban infrastructure Alan Tudge said the usual financial split between states and the commonwealth was 50/50.

"Our position on funding shares is clear - we provide 50/50 funding on projects in urban areas," he said.

"This is true in the case of projects like upgrades on the Mitchell Freeway and projects announced this Budget such as the Oats Street/Welshpool Road/Mint Street Level Crossing Removal project and the Fremantle Traffic Bridge.

"We've led the agenda on this critical project since we first committed $2 million for the business case back in 2018, which the state government did not make a funding contribution towards.

"The state government has consistently claimed this is not a priority for them, but it's good to see they suddenly care for the needs of the Lakelands community - but they need to back that up with action and a real, equal funding contribution.

"Andrew Hastie and the Lakelands community have been tireless in their pursuit of this project and as a result we will deliver it."