Key transport plans axed

The Barnett Government has dumped two of its key transport planning exercises after years of work, declining to release final plans to the public.

The Department of Transport has confirmed in information provided to an Upper House estimates committee that two key transport planning projects — the Public Transport Plan for Perth 2031 and the Moving People Network Plan — will not be progressed.

The planning exercises, each commissioned when Troy Buswell was transport minister, had been widely touted by the Government.

The Public Transport Plan for Perth 2031 was released in draft form in 2011 and received more than 1000 submissions from the public during its public comment period.

Since the release of the plan, the Government has committed to billions of dollars of new road and rail spending, including the $2 billion Perth Airport-Forrestfield rail line, the $1.2 billion Northlink project and the $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link.

The Public Transport Plan for Perth 2031 said the airport rail line would not be needed before 2031, but the Government committed to it at the 2013 State election and decided to press ahead with it in preference to the $2 billion MAX light rail project after the Government conceded it could not afford to do both.

Instead, the Government is working on a third, new plan: the Transport Plan for Perth at a population of 3.5 million.

In answers to the committee, the Department of Transport said the old plans would be “used as input to development” of the new plan, which would not be released until next year.

Opposition Leader and acting shadow transport minister Mark McGowan said the Government’s transport planning was “in disarray”.

“They just make it up as they go along and there’s no consistent plan,” he said.

“Over the course of the seven years they’ve been in office, they’ve chopped and changed, they’ve had no consistent plan and hence we’re now in the worst congestion crisis the State has seen.”

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