Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has refused to commit to taking Labor’s Metronet public transport project to the next State election.
Mr McGowan, who participated this morning in a live chat with readers of thewest.com.au, said Metronet was a “great policy and a great plan” that was “very much a part” of his thinking on public transport.
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But he would not commit to a timetable for delivering the plan until he knew the state of the State Budget in the lead up to the next election, to be held in March 2017.
Mr McGowan fielded a range of questions from readers – many of whom were keen to discuss his public transport plans.
Metronet – a series of rail projects including circle lines north and south of the city, a spur line to Perth Airport and an extension of the northern line to Yanchep – was Labor’s signature policy at the March State election, which Labor lost to the Barnett Government with a 2.7 per cent swing against it.
Labor lost six seats to the Liberal and National parties, leaving it with 21 of 59 Legislative Assembly seats.
Mr McGowan was asked if the election loss was due to Federal factors – at the time Labor prime minister Julia Gillard was deeply unpopular – or his policy platform.
“It's always difficult to defeat a first term government I expect in light of many broken promises and a conservative federal government that life will be tougher for the Barnett govt (six) this term,” Mr McGowan said.
Mr McGowan said he was a supporter of gay marriage and would vote in favour in a conscience vote. Whether or not this was a State issue would be determined by the High Court.
Asked if he supported the Barnett Government’s plan to build the MAX light rail project from Mirrabooka to Perth, Mr McGowan said he supported a “comprehensive integrated public transport and rail system”.
“I thought Metronet was a much better option. Now the Govt (sic) made their promise we will be holding them to it and I note that the timeframe they promised at the election has blown out,” he said.
One reader, noting Mr McGowan’s criticisms of the Government’s level of debt, asked what services or infrastructure he would cut.
“I would not have got us into this position and last time Labor was in Govt (sic) we drove down debt,” he said.
“Mr Barnett has increased debt by 700 per cent in five years. I announced a range of savings measures in the last election campaign and was honest with the people of WA about that. I will do the same at the next election.”