South Perth Train Station
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said this week that the PTA did not believe there was a demonstrated need for a train station in South Perth now or in the near future. Are you disappointed by the Minister’s comments?
The City is extremely disappointed in Minister Nalder’s comments that suggest that the Public Transport Authority’s opinion is that the need for the South Perth Train Station has not yet been demonstrated. The City was not aware that is the case.
In August 2002, former Premier, the Hon Dr Geoff Gallop, and former Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the Hon Alannah MacTiernan, released a Supplementary Master Plan for the Southwest Metropolitan Rail Link. The plan provided for a railway station to be established at South Perth as a future State Government commitment.
When the State Government approved the Perth to Mandurah railway some ten years ago, a Parliamentary commitment was given to construct a railway station near Richardson Street, South Perth, to service the surrounding apartment and business precinct – Perth Zoo, Mends Street shopping centre and South Perth Foreshore. The City of South Perth promoted further development in this area through an amendment to its Town Planning Scheme in January 2013, creating the South Perth Station Precinct (Town Planning Scheme Amendment No. 25). The City has also commissioned a ‘business case’ investigation towards funding of a station. Minister Nalder’s comments indicate that he is not aware of these initiatives.
I understand that the Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, is supportive of the South Perth Train Station.
While the State Government has not yet committed funding for construction of the South Perth Train Station, and is facing the need for budgetary constraint, the government is also planning for significant capital city population and employment growth. The State Government has produced a strategy that requires metropolitan local governments to accommodate this growth. This direction from the State Government requires the City of South Perth to have substantial infill and a substantial increase in population density. It is intended that the South Perth Station Precinct will accommodate some of this growth. The Minister’s statement that there is no demonstrated need for a station does not appear to take account this future population and employment growth or the existing traffic problems which will only grow worse with an increasing population density in South Perth.
The City is disappointed that the Federal Government is not funding much-needed rail projects in Western Australia such as the South Perth train station to cater for the increasing population density and ever worsening road traffic problems flowing from State Government policy in Directions 2031.
Do you still believe a station will be built in South Perth?
Yes. The City expected the station to be completed some years ago and remains of the view that the station will be needed. Since the South Perth Station Precinct amendment, nine significant developments have been, or are in the process of being approved. These developments will result in construction of almost 900 residential units and over 47,000 sq. metres of commercial floor space. The total investment value of these projects exceeds $700 million. Further substantial projects in the area are expected.
In light of the Minister’s comments, does the City of South Perth have any plans to reconsider the existence of the South Perth Station Precinct, given the decision to allow higher density development in the precinct was made to strengthen the case for a train station?
No. The State Government’s guiding regional planning document, Directions 2031 identifies the South Perth peninsula as a ‘District Centre’ where more ‘infill’ development is to be promoted. To comply with the State Government policy, the City’s Town Planning Scheme was amended. This action was appropriate even if the train station is not constructed.
In particular, does the City believe the Minister’s comments should be taken into account when considering high-density developments, such as the 29 storey development proposed for 74 Mill Point Road?
It is debatable whether much can be done.
The public may not be aware that it is State Government policy is to increase population density in South Perth - in particular in this area. The State Government policy will change the look of some parts of the City, such as the peninsula, and the City’s task is to try to retain amenity for residents in this process.
This increase in population requires bold new transport options which obviously will not be met in the long term by more buses on more congested roads. The high-rise developments in this multi-storey area are a result of an increase in density.
The State Transport Minister is unconcerned with providing proper train transport to the area as its population grows and the Federal Government will not fund the public transport option. The City now has to deal with the State Government policy relating to this area, which is fundamentally inconsistent and contradictory.
Is the mayor aware of concerns among some residents that the city may wind up with very high-density development to support a train station that does not eventuate?
Yes. For more than ten years, successive State Governments have been active partners in producing planning strategies for the South Perth Station Precinct. In view of this and in light of the precinct’s ‘District Centre’ status under the State Government’s policy, the City still expects that the station will be constructed, even though the State Government has not yet determined a specific time frame for commencement.
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