THE newly-appointed Liberal candidate for the state seat of Fremantle says it’s time to consider a passenger rail along the freight line from Fremantle to the abandoned platform at Beeliar.
Hayden Shenton, who won the Fremantle pre-selection uncontested last Saturday, says after living and selling real estate in Hamilton Hill and Munster for several years’ he’s convinced there’s been enough growth to justify upgrading the freight line to a fully electrified system.
“Freight trains are very slow, but could they be made faster?” he said about one of the impediments to a shared line.
He also pointed to rail systems overseas where light rail carriages are able to quickly convert to run on standard gauge.
Having also spent several years working for steel manufacturer Highline in Perth’s northern industrial areas, he says he’s got an appreciation for how a more integrated transport system could help move workers.
He says once he had to leave his car in Welshpool, and it took nearly two hours with connecting buses and trains to get back home to Munster.
He’s also open to looking at moving Cockburn Cement into the Latitude 32 industrial area to open up more trackside land for housing.
Originally from the northern wheat belt, Mr Shenton (52) now lives in Applecross, outside of the electorate.
In a varied career, Mr Shenton has worked as as an aviation instructor and in the residential real estate and banking sector.
He says upgrading the passenger terminal at Fremantle Port will be a priority if he’s elected, saying cruise ship passengers have to make a gruelling trek across asphalt in rain or burning sun to get to the city centre, which is not a good image.
He has environmental concerns about building an outer harbour at Kwinana, and wants any future redevelopment of the South Fremantle Power Station to be mixed-use, not just residential.
“It’s not enough to build units and watch people commute to Perth every morning,” he says.
“We need to encourage people who live in the suburb to work there too.”
In the lead up to Christmas Mr Shenton will be on a fact-finding mission, meeting community groups and stakeholders, so he had a better understanding of the key issues affecting the electorate.
WA electoral boundaries were redrawn in 2015 and its bad news for Mr Shenton: the ABC predict the ALP margin in Fremantle has almost doubled from 7.9 to 15.4 per cent as a huge chunk of Labor-friendly Willagee has been added, while Liberal-friendly areas in the north have been lost to the newly created seat of Bicton.
It makes Fremantle the safest Labor seat in WA.
by STEVE GRANT and STEPHEN POLLOCK