City West sink plan

THE inner suburbs are being wooed with election cash from all sides, with a huge plan this week from the Liberal party to sink 500 metre of railway line to revitalise City West.

Liberal leader Zak Kirkup announced the plan with Perth Liberal candidate Kylee Veskovich, saying they’d sink the railway line between Mitchell Freeway and Thomas Street so the land could be developed, helping boost the CBD’s population.

They pledged $5 million to undertake detailed master planning, but the Liberals say much of the work could be paid for through a “Public Private Partnership” that could make it nearly cost neutral. 

“It’s an important difference to how the Labor governments operated over the last four years,” Mr Zirkup said at a January 25 press conference that was punctuated by the noise of unsunk trains passing by. 

“We have a vision to work with our friends in the private sector to unlock the potential for Perth. That’s the way it should be done, that’s the way that taxpaxers expect it would be done, in a way that’s financially prudent and fiscally responsible.”

Labor’s transport minister Rita Saffioti doesn’t buy that, saying selling off two hectares of land for private development would be lucky to net them $60m, while the overall project costs closer to a billion. 

But the concept has worked to fund big infrastructure projects in Sydney and Melbourne and has been touted 

as a good plan by the federal government’s Infrastructure Australia in the past, and the theory goes that the land price shoots upwards because of the new improvements.

An IA report on the concept says the Melbourne City Link (which cost $2b) improved the value of nearby land by $30b.

The Liberals also pledged  $10m for a Perth Events Fund for “inspiring” CBD events to liven up the city.

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