Plans to upgrade the Australind train service – including bringing the train into the Bunbury CBD – will give the Bunbury and South West economy a long-overdue shot in the arm, according to Labor Candidate for Bunbury Don Punch.
The announcement to upgrade the Australind train and look at options for a new station in the heart of Bunbury was made last week by WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan.
WA Labor’s plan includes:
Investment in new, modern rail cars for the Australind train.
Disabled access provision at all stops on the Australind line.
A new non-stop Australind service from Perth to Bunbury.
Upgrade of existing service to maximise tourism opportunities in the South West.
Start planning for a new train station in the heart of Bunbury.
Define a new route for future faster train services to Bunbury.
WA Labor will allocate an initial $30million to get the plan underway.
Mr Punch said the planned upgrade would give a vital boost to the Bunbury and South West economy. An upgraded service would bring more tourists into Bunbury, and allow for business travel between Perth and Bunbury that is faster and more efficient.
“The existing Australind Train service is being under-utilised, and does not take advantage of the tourism potential of Bunbury, Collie and surrounding communities along the line,” Mr Punch said.
“As part of the Australind Train upgrade there will be a tourism marketing strategy to promote Bunbury and the Ferguson Valley – including rail tourism packages.
“Importantly, the Australind Train needs to bring passengers into the heart of Bunbury. The local community has been calling for a Bunbury CBD train station for years. I will work with the City of Bunbury to get plans rolling.
“I’m keen to work with councils, local business and my colleague Mick Murray to ensure small business opportunities are maximised by this important initiative.”
Mr Punch said Labor would ensure a proportion of construction would occur in WA to help stimulate local manufacturing jobs.
The proposed upgrade to the Australind Train was long overdue, Mr Punch said. The Australind service in 2016 was only 45 minutes faster than it was in the 1950s.
“The Australind upgrades will be funded from the Royalties for Regions fund which WA Labor are committed to retaining. It is a sensible and affordable response to the growing needs of Bunbury and the South West” Mr Punch said.