Call for Premier to admit broken promise

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
South West MLC Colin Holt has called on Premier Mark McGowan to “come clean” about the Australind train.
Camera IconSouth West MLC Colin Holt has called on Premier Mark McGowan to “come clean” about the Australind train. Credit: The West Australian / Steve Ferrier

South West MLC Colin Holt has called on Premier Mark McGowan to “come clean” and admit he has broken an election promise to deliver a new Australind train.

Mr McGowan last month told the Bunbury Herald that the new Bunbury to Perth train would be on the tracks in “coming years” following months of break-downs.

But Mr Holt has slammed the State Government’s latest pledge saying it was a “complete departure” from Mr McGowan’s pre-election promises.

“The Premier says the new train is coming – but that’s cold comfort for Australind passengers who have been putting up with constant delays and service outages,” Mr Holt said.

“The Premier is now trying to weasel his way out of the promise, blaming delays in finding a WA builder.

“It’s funny, Labor never seem to have such delays when it comes to Perth rail projects.

“We hear him trumpet a new Metronet announcement every other week.

“Perhaps the Premier could put the interests of the bush first for a change and expedite the Australind project.”

Mr McGowan last month said replacing the train was a priority for the Government, but it took time to build it locally.

Mr McGowan said this week the train project was still in the procurement process and Mr Holt did not “have a leg to stand on”.

“The ageing Australind rolling stock is an issue this Government inherited, but we have a plan to resolve it,” Mr McGowan said.

“Given that the Australind reached the end of its original 30-year useful life in 2017 and the previous Government had no plans in place to replace it, we had to start from scratch with the procurement process.

“Colin Holt was a cabinet member of the previous Liberal-National Government that had no plans to replace the Australind and de-funded the Avon Link service in their last Budget.

“Mr Holt and the WA National Party simply don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to supporting regional rail.”

He said the replacement was part of the Government’s $1.6 billion Metronet project and it was committed to delivering for regional WA.

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