The highly anticipated $700 million main construction contract for the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook Line has been awarded.

The contract was awarded to the MELconnx Consortium (Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction). 

The long-awaited project will link the fast-growing north-eastern suburbs directly with the wider Perth passenger rail network for the first time. 

The 21km line is the biggest METRONET project to get underway, and is the most significant expansion of the rail network since the Mandurah Line was built in 2007. 

For the first time, it can be revealed more than 6,500 local WA jobs are being created as a result of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, providing a significant boost to the WA economy, building on the pipeline of work being created in WA as part of the WA Recovery Plan.

Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said the project was one of the state government’s key election commitments and he was pleased the main construction contract has now been awarded.

“Just like we promised, we’re building the rail line to Ellenbrook,” Mr McGowan said.

“This has been talked about for decades and after all the broken promises, this is a major step forward for this project, which will transform Perth’s growing north-eastern suburbs and benefit the local and surrounding communities.

“Now more than ever, big infrastructure projects like METRONET’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line are imperative to WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery as they create a pipeline of work and support thousands of jobs.

“This year alone we have seven METRONET projects underway and through our Building for Tomorrow program, we are creating lasting infrastructure for generations to come while creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses.”

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, said the contract award paves the way for thousands of jobs for hard-working Western Australians and an economic boost for the WA economy. 

“All along the Morrison Government have said that METRONET will re-shape Perth and that transformation is underway all across the metropolitan area,” Mr Tudge said.

“It means jobs right now and critical, targeted infrastructure for generations to come.”

Western Australian Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said the population of Perth’s north-eastern suburbs was expected to double by 2031 and it was vital the Government planned and delivered key infrastructure now. 

“The community have been waiting a long time for their railway – we promised it in 2017 and when we were lucky enough to be elected to Government, we immediately began planning the project,” Ms Saffioti said.

“Now the contract has been signed, the funding secured and early works are underway.

“The McGowan Government is spending almost $12 billion on building the transport infrastructure over the next four years, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses.”

Federal Member for Pearce, Christian Porter, said the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will improve the lives of local residents. 

“Like many in my electorate, I am delighted that this project is finally moving ahead and I know it will make a significant difference to the everyday lives of those who’ve been waiting so patiently for it,” Mr Porter said.

“This project will become a reality with a $500 million contribution from the Federal Government – money that was allocated in the Government’s 2018 budget.”

Passengers travelling from Ellenbrook Station are expected to have a seamless 30-minute journey to the CBD, with no need to transfer trains. This is almost half the current travel time for local residents using public transport.

By 2031, it is estimated the rail line will take more than 10,000 car trips off roads in the north-eastern suburbs each day.

The contract includes construction of the rail line as well as building five new stations at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook, with a future station to be developed at Bennett Springs East.

Early works have already started, with the New Bayswater Station – the site where the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will spur off the Midland Line – and the Tonkin Gap Project. 

As part of the Tonkin Gap Project, works include civil and structural works between Bayswater and Malaga to allow rail access in and out of the Tonkin Highway and to prepare the corridor for rail to be laid.

The direct costs of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line enabling works on those two projects is estimated at $233 million – providing significant time and cost savings on the project.

The total project budget for the main contract, including contingency, escalation and ancillary costs, is estimated to come in at $1.1 billion.

It is expected all main construction work will be completed in 2023-24.

The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments.

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