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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3904

Mr ROSS CAMERON(10.45 p.m.) —It is my belief that under the cloak of parliamentary privilege one ought, only with the greatest reluctance, ever reflect on the integrity of a current or former member of this place. Certainly, I have not done so in the course of my short time here. I rise tonight to do precisely that, because of a matter—

Mr Kerr —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER —The honourable member for Denison might give me some credit for listening out for what is going to be said. The member has said nothing as yet.

Mr Kerr —He has said that he is intending to raise—

Mr ACTING SPEAKER —He has indicated an intention of a present or former member.

Mr Kerr —I have never heard a member so foolish as to so flag his intentions. Given that he has, I alert you to the obvious—

Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Thank you for alerting me; I do not really need it. The honourable member for Parramatta will be most cautious in the way in which he speaks tonight.

Mr ROSS CAMERON —Absolutely. In fact, that was the purpose of my preliminary remarks—to highlight the degree of caution with which I approach this subject. It relates to a matter of considerable importance to the hundreds of residents of Winston Hills in my electorate who are subject to an enormous change in their quality of life because of the building of the M2 motorway in the northern section of my electorate, which is forcing a huge amount of traffic through the small sub-arterial, quiet streets of what had previously been a village type suburb.

So it was that the only solution to their problem was the building of ramps onto the M2 motorway, at a cost of some $8 million. So it was that the residents, in the lead-up to the last election, looked to both candidates with considerable anticipation to see whether or not they would be able to deliver on the ramps which became a huge hope, an aspiration, of that whole community.

On 26 February, with six days to go before the election, my opponent at that time—whose name just escapes me—sent a letter to some hundreds of constituents in Winston Hills. I would like to quote from a letter to Mr Barry Morgan:

I am very pleased to advise the discussion between federal and state governments has lead to an agreement on a dollar for dollar funding for the western facing ramps from Windsor Road to the M2. The federal minister, Mr Brereton, has already transferred $8.7 million in federal road funding on condition that the new ramps are built.

This generated so much enthusiasm and excitement in the electoral that, on 28 February. some 500 residents attended a meeting of the Winston Hills action group at Matthew Pearce Public School, at which both my opponent and I were required to speak. I would like to quote from the minutes of the meeting sent to me by the Winston Hills action group.

The then member for Parramatta stood up and said to the meeting:

I set upon a course after that meeting to try and see how we could actually get these ramps brought back into the equation far earlier than had been suggested. I took the matter up with both the federal roads minister, Laurie Brereton, and the state roads minister, Michael Knight, and prior to the federal parliament going into caretaker arrangements, prior to a date at the beginning of February when no decisions could then be taken by the government, I got Laurie Brereton to agree to transfer an amount of $8.7 million to the New South Wales government on the understanding that a series of projects would be carried out to deal with the problem areas of Pennant Hills Road and the problems in Winston Hills. One of the conditions that will be attached to the transfer of that money, which has now already gone to the New South Wales government, was that we wanted the ramps—the western facing ramps at Windsor Road on the M2—reinstated. That action has been taken.

I followed the member to the podium and raised with him my doubts at the prospects of the government making such a transfer in the period leading up to the election. I questioned this whole issue of whether a caretaker government could make that kind of commitment. He responded by saying:

This is not a case of where money for a project is dependent on what will happen after the election. I make that point at the outset. I don't tell stories because you don't get too far doing that. The money was actually transferred.

I rise to inform the House today that, after repeated requests to both the state Minister for Roads and the federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development (Mr Sharp), I received notification today in a letter in which the federal minister states:

The former government had announced but not committed funding of $480 million for the section of the western Sydney orbital and the links to the Badgerys airport site. There was no commitment to funding the western Sydney orbital north of the M4 or any additional work on the M2. The Department of Transport and Regional Development—

(Time expired)