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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1048


Dr MARTIN (Reid) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison government's efforts to bust congestion, including the latest developments on the WestConnex project that will benefit motorists across Sydney?

Mr TUDGE (AstonMinister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure) (14:40): I thank the member for Reid for her question and also for her outstanding maiden speech this morning. We congratulate her on her magnificent victory in the seat in Western Sydney. Her supporters are up in the gallery today.

As the member for Reid knows, two weeks ago we reached another incredible milestone of the $16 billion WestConnex project—and that was the opening of the M4 tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield. This 5.5-kilometre tunnel is an absolute game changer for constituents in the member for Reid's electorate and right across Sydney because it now means that a person driving from Parramatta to the CBD can avoid 22 sets of traffic lights and will save 20 minutes when going from Parramatta to the CBD. If you were doing that daily over the course of a week you would save 3½ hours. Every single week that's 3½ hours you could spend with your family, with other loved ones, on the sporting field or doing things you want to do rather than being stuck in traffic. This is an absolute congestion-busting project at its best, making a real difference to thousands of people's lives on a daily basis.

What's more it has a great economic impact, because when you clear some of the traffic—like is happening on Parramatta Road—and make that journey 20 minutes faster, it's better for tradies and for trucks distributing goods. So it's better for the economy overall. There were also 4,000 jobs in construction on this project and 16,000 jobs overall during the construction of the WestConnex project. So it is a great congestion-busting project and it's great for the economy. Given these fantastic attributes, I'm both disappointed and astounded that the Labor Party, the opposition, are still so against the WestConnex project.

Just a few years ago the Leader of the Opposition, when he was the transport spokesperson, said that he didn't support this project, because 'it's a road to nowhere'. Parramatta is a road to nowhere? Furthermore, he said, 'If I'm the transport minister, there will not be a single dollar going into this project.' We don't believe that Western Sydney is nowhere. We're on the side of those residents in Western Sydney who want to be able to get through traffic more quickly. We're building infrastructure in Western Sydney to make it easier for them to get home sooner and safer. We're on the side of all Australians who want to bust congestion, improve the economy and get home sooner and safer. (Time expired)