The State Government will spend $100 million over the next five years to upgrade Transperth's bus fleet.
Transport Minister Pam Beggs today said the program involved building more than 300 new buses and was the biggest bus procurement program undertaken in Western Australia.
It would create up to 30 new jobs and provide a more secure future for the 300 workers employed in the State's bus-building industry.
It also would provide more reliable and efficient bus services as well as improving other aspects of public transport, such as reduced traffic congestion and associated air pollution.
Mrs Beggs said the program was in line with the State Government's WA Advantage strategy to use capital works expenditure to stimulate employment and investment in the private sector.
"This new program will remove the uncertainty and problems local bus manufactuers previously have experienced by enabling them to plan for more than just a year or two ahead," she said.
"They will be able to plan and budget with a degree of confidence that they have not had in the past.
"The five-year program also marks an end to the stop-start bus acquisition programs of the past that also created significant difficulties for Transperth in planning future bus services."
Mrs Beggs said more than $50 million would go to Western Australian and other Australian suppliers and bus-body manufacturers.
The building program would run until 1998 but the first of the new Western Australian-built buses would be on the road next year.
"Transperth will be able to modernise its fleet by phasing out its old buses, some of which have been in service for almost 23 years," Mrs Beggs said.
"It also will give the agency the capacity to increase its fleet from its existing level of 923 buses.
"The program is particularly significant in that the bus fleet upgraded when the city's rail system is being revolutionised with the Northern Suburbs Rapid Transit system due to come on stream and a commitment to build a rail network for the South-West metropolitan corridor from Fremantle to Rockingham and Mandurah."
The Minister said funding for the program would be through WA Treasury Corporation borrowings. It would involve lease agreements similar to those used for Transperth's new electric rail cars, saving the State more than $3 million in up-front costs.