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Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says his party will give $700 million to fund a train line to Ellenbrook if it wins government.
On a visit to Perth, Mr Shorten made the promise that if Labor won the next federal election, there would be a large injection of Commonwealth funds for Ellenbrook as the first allocation from a $1.6 billion Fair Share WA fund.
The rail project is part of the McGowan Government's signature $2.5 billion Metronet election promise.
In August, Mr Shorten used Labor's state conference in Perth to pledge the creation of a $1.6 billion infrastructure fund to partially offset WA's massive shortfall in GST revenue.
Both Labor and Liberal leaders have stepped up their visits and promises to WA ahead of the federal election, expected to be held as early as next year.
No Ellenbrook cash in WA budgetThe McGowan Government has faced criticism for failing to allocate any funding in its first state budgetfor construction work on the Ellenbrook line — after promising that would happen by 2019.
The only money included the September budget for Ellenbrook was funding to plan and develop a business case.
Despite that, WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has insisted the project would not be delayed and trains would be running on the line in 2022.
Both major parties vowed ahead of the 2008 election to build an Ellenbrook line, but the Liberal-National government dumped the plan after coming into office.
Earlier, WA Opposition Leader Mike Nahan urged the State Government to scrap Metronet to help plug a budget shortfall left by its failed proposal to increase the gold royalty rate.
All eyes on federal fundingMr Shorten's Perth visit comes amid the ongoing dispute over the GST carve-up, with WA currently receiving just 34.4 cents for every dollar of GST raised in the state.
A long and winding rail saga
The Labor leader has given no commitment to changing the GST distribution system, saying he would await the final findings from a review by the Productivity Commission.
Meanwhile, after criticising the Metronet project, the Turnbull Government has since committed more than $700 million for the proposed Thornlie-to-Cockburn line and Yanchep extension,
The McGowan Government is also keen to secure more money from the Federal Government to fund its $2.5 billion Metronet stage one, and is eyeing a $10 billion urban rail fund announced in the last federal budget.
Federal Minister and Pearce MP Christian Porter said last week he would be fighting hard to ensure a large portion of those funds were committed to the Ellenbrook line and other WA projects.
Labor's planned Fair Share for WA Fund will be legislated and include a statutory obligation to invest all proceeds into WA infrastructure projects.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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