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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Page: 5050

Mr MORRISON (9:30 AM) —As I have regularly stated in this House, the single most important transport issue for the Sutherland shire is the future extension of the F6 freeway. The F6 tunnel extension is the missing link in Sydney’s road system. The F6 extension is simply not on the radar of Labor at a state or federal level, and last week we found out why. Last week we learnt that the New South Wales Premier personally altered a New South Wales transport blueprint to remove all reference to the F6 in order to appease her southern Sydney MPs. It was mentioned with other projects beyond the government’s 10-year funding guarantee, but the Premier ordered transport officials to delete the F6 from the final document. She said it was removed because its development is a long way into the future and will need federal funding to happen. This has always been a state road and the New South Wales state government has delayed work on the F6 to appease the member for Miranda, Barry Collier, who has remained opposed to the project throughout his entire term in parliament.

This is a state road. It is not a federal road. It is a state responsibility. There is no more pressing road issue in southern Sydney or in the Illawarra region when you consider the expansion of port activity at Port Kembla and Port Botany, and the growth of the airport and the associated businesses connected with this economic infrastructure. The F6 freeway was planned more than 60 years ago, in a reservation corridor set aside for the purpose of building the freeway, in 1951. To date it has only been built as far as Waterfall just outside of Sydney. North of Waterfall the corridor remains as it has for generations, largely vacant land.

In 2007 the coalition went to the federal election with a promise to spend $20 million for a preliminary planning study into the extension of the F6 to ensure it could be shovel-ready at some point in the future. I have not seen any announcements from the Rudd government or the New South Wales Labor government matching this commitment. The people of southern Sydney and the Illawarra have been short-changed by Labor in terms of transport planning in southern Sydney. When Infrastructure Australia and the Labor Party released their list of national infrastructure priorities in May 2009, the F6 was ignored again.

This is a project that should be given high priority, especially in terms of the significant economic benefit it would bring to the region. The road extension would connect Sydney airport and Port Botany to the Illawarra region and the expanded Port Kembla. Without this improved rail link, trucks will continue to roll from the Illawarra through the streets of the Sutherland shire heading towards destinations such as the M5 motorway, the airport, Port Botany and the commercial-industrial areas in central and northern Sydney. It is important to get these trucks off these roads and the commuter traffic off suburban streets in the shire, and the F6 extension is a way to do that. The NRMA have been strong supporters of the need to build this road and have formed a task force, of which I was one of the foundation members, which is arguing the case for this road extension to be built. A thousand direct jobs and $3.4 billion in economic benefits would flow from the project, costing $2.3 billion. It is a state responsibility. The coalition in the past has championed this issue over many years and it is time for the Labor Party to get serious about southern Sydney’s road needs.