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Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Page: 2017

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (10:00): I was pleased to have the Prime Minister in my electorate last week and pleased to see her spending the best part of the week touring around various parts of Western Sydney. As part of this trip, the Prime Minister made a significant announcement in relation to local infrastructure investment. Congestion on our roads is a huge issue in Western Sydney. To underline this point, just two weeks ago I drove into the city from my home in Claremont Meadows in my electorate, and it took 2½ hours to get into the city. Of that 2½ hours, at least half of the time was spent driving from the end of the M4 at Concord all the way into the city. That missing link in the M4 motorway is something that residents of my community have long lamented. But now there is an opportunity to fix that. The Prime Minister announced that a significant commitment of funding would be made in the event that the state government is able to amend its current proposal to upgrade the M4 and M5 motorways.

The state government currently has a plan called the WestConnex proposal, but there are three problems with this plan. The Prime Minister has said that we will make an investment of funding, provided that these three issues are addressed. The first one is that the upgrade does not connect the M4 with the city. This is a huge issue for people in Western Sydney and, frankly, there is no point spending more than $10 billion on a motorway upgrade that does not take people where they need to go, which is all the way into the city. Nor does the WestConnex proposal take the M5 all the way to the port. That is important in making sure that this is a national infrastructure project. The third significant factor is that the current WestConnex proposal would require that residents travelling along existing parts of the M4, which they currently travel on free, to pay a toll. This would mean that the toll would be reintroduced at Parramatta on a distance-based approach, and would mean that commuters would have to pay up to $7 each way just to drive along a road that they currently drive on for free. This is not good enough, and the Prime Minister has made the point that we will make funding available in the event that the O'Farrell government revises its proposal to address these three flaws.

I think it is worth noting that the Leader of the Opposition has said that he is prepared to commit some funding to this project, but he has chosen not to impose any of these conditions. In fact, when asked about it last week he said that to impose these conditions would be:

… to make it almost impossible for it to be built any time soon.

The only problem is that the following day, in the Penrith Press in my electorate, the local Liberal candidate for Lindsay had a full page advertisement saying that the Liberals would the M4 all the way to the city. This is not true; this should be exposed. It is something that the residents of our community need to know about.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.