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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21759

Mr MOSSFIELD (4:10 PM) —It gives me a great deal of pleasure to speak to the private members motion moved by my colleague the member for Chifley. It draws attention to the need for forward planning for integrated transport and urban policies in all our major cities—no more so than in Western Sydney, which is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. In recent years in Western Sydney we have seen new suburbs springing up with poor public transport links. In the electorate of Greenway we have seen new suburbs in the north-west sector, with most commuters having to drive or take a bus to rail connections on the Richmond line—to Blacktown station and Seven Hills station—and linking up with the rail commuters from Penrith and the Blue Mountains.

There is a huge disparity in the number of trains that travel from the CBD to the Richmond line compared with the Penrith line, despite the rapidly growing population on the north-western corridor. There has been no serious attempt to redirect the public transport clientele through the Hills district into the CBD, other than by road transport. It is quite clear that these areas have large enough populations to support a fixed rail form of transport. Even at this late stage of urban development a medium-gauge rail system, as operates in the Perth metropolitan area, could run adjacent to some of our major road networks, like the M2 and the under construction M7. As a long-time advocate of the construction of the Western Sydney Orbital—or, as it is now known, the M7—I am delighted to see extensive construction work being carried out on this project. This construction, however, is causing considerable inconvenience to local residents in the form of air and noise pollution and traffic congestion, again highlighting the need for the major road projects to be carried out prior to residential development. That of course takes foresight and planning—two skills the Liberal government seems to lack.

The Western Sydney Orbital will, after construction is complete, of course prove to be extremely beneficial to the Western Sydney region. That is why business groups and local residents have been calling for its construction for over 20 years. I have made numerous speeches in this place explaining the benefits that the Western Sydney Orbital will have on the region. Industries want to be closer to good road networks to move freight efficiently. At present, trucks clog Western Sydney roads, creating pollution, noise and congestion. The roads were not built to sustain the kinds of truck movements that currently exist; therefore the roads require extra expenditure on maintenance. The orbital road will be good for business and it will be good for local residents.

Along with most other Western Sydney residents, I have always been a strong opponent of the toll on the M7, particularly for local residents. However, with the federal government being reluctant to fully finance this part of the national highway system, the state government had little alternative but to implement the toll. I might add, it is the only toll on the national highway in Australia. This is a clear demonstration of the Howard government's failure in its responsibility to the Australian people.

Turning to other matters regarding the need for proper and appropriate planning for our major cities, we need to examine transport policies and urban design policies together. They are very much two sides of a single coin. As a means of slowing down the urban sprawl that is engulfing us and placing enormous pressure on our transport and health systems, the New South Wales Premier has advocated a reduction in the number of migrants to the Sydney area. He is putting up the `house full' sign for the Sydney region. This approach runs contrary to the argument that Australia needs to increase its migrant intake to increase our population to ensure continual strong economic growth. The total Australian migrant intake has a direct impact on the Sydney urban sprawl.

Before I run out of time, I want to comment on Badgerys Creek, as it has been raised again today. Whatever has been said, whatever has happened in the past, it is Simon Crean and the Labor Party that have put Badgerys Creek airport to bed totally. The member for Mitchell has been an advocate of the airport at Badgerys Creek. If it is claimed that the member for Chifley is the father of Badgerys Creek, then I will say that the member for Mitchell is the mother of Badgerys Creek, because on 7 October 1993 he said in a private member's motion that he:

... endorses the immediate construction of a private/public airport at Badgerys Creek with a full international capacity including a 2900 metre runway.

He said in his speech:

I believe that there are good arguments why there should be immediate regenerated interest in Badgerys Creek, and that Badgerys Creek should in fact be the site of a second international airport for Sydney.

(Time expired)