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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1880


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (11:01): I am thrilled to speak on this tremendous motion moved by my friend the member for Reid and seconded so eloquently by the member for Lindsay. This is a terrific motion for a terrific project. This is the first time I have spoken in this House on a contested motion. I am wondering if this is, effectively, what normally happens in the sense that the government puts forward a constructive motion, a project that is clearly in the interests of the people of my electorate and of Sydney more generally, and then the opposition comes along and says that it is a bad idea. I can tell you that for the people of the electorate of Banks this is a very good idea and a very, very important project.

The reality of Sydney roads is that Labor's legacy, in both the state government and in its failure to contribute at a federal level, is one of congestion—and everyone in Sydney knows that to be the case. It seems to me that, on the one hand, Labor proposes job-killing taxes and, on the other hand, we on this side propose job-creating infrastructure. I certainly know which side I would rather be on.

For my electorate WestConnex is particularly important because of the duplication of the M5 East tunnel. Anyone who has driven from Beverly Hills in my electorate—or from Hurstville, or from Mortdale or from any of the suburbs that access the M5 for the drive into the city—know how bad the M5 East tunnel can be. There are frequent delays and lots of congestion to the point where some people have abandoned using the road altogether. It is only two lanes at present, which is inadequate. One of the great outcomes of this project is that the M5 East tunnel will be increased to four lanes in each direction. That is going to provide much-needed relief for the people of Banks.

The trip from King Georges Road at Beverly Hills into the CBD is now estimated to take about 55 minutes in peak hour. A very substantial reduction of around 25 minutes on the journey is expected with the completion of this project. Imagine what that saving means in time. It means that people can get to their business meetings on time. It means that they can get more done during the working week. It also means that families can spend more time together. People who drive home from work in the city, and who are confronted by huge traffic delays on the M5 East, are going to get home to their families more quickly with the building of the WestConnex. That is obviously a good thing not just for the economy but also for family life in general. It is certainly a tremendous development for my area.

It is also important to think about some of the roads where congestion will be eased. There is a lot of congestion at the moment on roads like the River Road, Fairford Road, Belmore Road North and, of course, King Georges Road, which can be a real bottleneck in my electorate of Banks. At the moment, when you merge onto the M5 at Beverly Hills, you have to merge into the existing traffic. One of the important developments in the WestConnex project is that there will now be a dedicated lane for that merging at Beverly Hills so that traffic will not have to merge into the existing traffic. The member for Reid and others would understand how tremendous not having to face that merge will be for my electorate.

The contrast is very, very clear. Premier Nathan Rees was one of a number of premiers in New South Wales over a relatively short period of time. Back in 2009 he and his transport minister put in place plans for the M5 East duplication which were removed three months later. The M4 East was first promised by Bob Carr back in 2002, which I think is 11 years ago, and it did not happen. The government is committed, through its contribution to the WestConnex, to improving infrastructure in the city, and I commend the motion to the House.