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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6413

Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra) (16:19): I rise to seek information from the minister. He will not be surprised when I say that it is in relation to the F3-M2 link. I have read very closely the document that you have produced associated with your portfolio; that is, Nation-building programs—Sydney transport infrastructure: project highlights. I read the section dealing with the F3 to M2 link and I note that along with the M5 East it is described by you and your departmental officers as a 'vital transport project'. And I emphasise the word 'vital' very deliberately.

It says in the statement that the government recognises that:

Connecting the Sydney Orbital Motorway network to the F3 would provide an efficient an effective national network connection through Sydney.

It goes on to say that the project is one which lends itself to being privately financed and that exploration of private financing is a matter that should be pursued. It is noted that along with the M5 East this particular road is now costing the nation $5.2 billion as of 2011, and will cost the nation, through avoidable congestion, $7.8 billion by the year 2020. I find the arguments extraordinarily compelling.

I simply ask: does the government intend to do anything in relation to this project or do I read it correctly that you are making it totally subject to somebody else coming up with the same amount of money as you are willing to offer in order for it to be progressed? I note—and I may not note it correctly—that in a less-urgent project, according to the words that are used—and I do not know whether that is right or wrong—the Australian government has committed $30 million for planning for the M4 East motorway without qualification. In other words, my question is: are you serious about doing anything on this matter? I note that the Howard government promised $1.5 billion five years ago as an election commitment.