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Monday, 3 April 2000
Page: 15059


Mr CADMAN (6:25 PM) —Tragically, the electorate of Mitchell will next year break a record. It is a record that nobody in Mitchell wants to see broken, but it is one that will be broken. It will be blessed with the worst and most congested road in the whole of New South Wales—that is, Windsor Road.


Ms Kernot —It is not in Queensland, though; it is outside my office!



Mr CADMAN —I know the member for Dickson knows something about that road, and so does the minister at the table. The fact of the matter is that Windsor Road is the main artery that runs from Parramatta out to the Hawkesbury district, passing through the suburbs of North Parramatta, North Rocks, Northmead, Baulkham Hills, Kellyville—Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, I am sure you know quite well what I am talking about—and on through Rouse Hill. It is the main artery serving the north-west of Sydney. For most of its length, it is a single lane each way. Next year it is going to become the most congested road in New South Wales. I understand from recent counts that in the period between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., 5,000 vehicles travelled southbound along Windsor Road. Forty per cent of the vehicles using the road were commercial. But in the period between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., 60 per cent of the vehicles were commercial vehicles. It is a most important route.

In addition to the fact that it is a main artery, members will be aware that in 1984 the then Minister for Planning and the Environment, the Hon. Bob Carr, announced that there would be a new suburb, a new north-west development area. That suburb is going to hold approximately 250,000 people in 80,000 homes, and it is well on the way to being constructed. It is going to be a suburb almost the size of Canberra reliant solely on a single-lane highway. That highway is choked now. It is little wonder that with the coming of the new development it will come to a standstill, hit gridlock, choke and in that way break a terrible record, a record that nobody in my district wants to break.

The way in which the development outlined in 1984 by the Hon. Bob Carr has gone ahead is a very interesting process of using the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board as part of a private enterprise consortium. That allowed the consortium to use all the powers of the water board to acquire land, to ignore planning codes and to basically move ahead as they wished in disregard of the local residents. However, that was the process chosen by the then minister for planning. It was obvious right from day one that no provision had been made in the new suburbs for employment opportunities and transport. The attention given to transport was minimal. There were no plans for major roads or the upgrading of major roads. There was no provision for rail transport or major public transport systems. Identified at the very first public meetings by local residents time and again was the problem of employment and transport. Because there are no employment opportunities in the north-west development, people have to travel outside of the area; because they travel outside, they need good transport systems. This new development, this new area the size of Canberra, provides neither for employment opportunities nor for decent transport.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.


Mr CADMAN —There are a number of reasons why Windsor Road in my electorate is going to break the record for the most congested road in New South Wales. That will happen in the year 2001. Currently, I am told by the NRMA, it is the third most congested road in New South Wales. Next year it will be the most congested. Part of the reason for that is the huge development of the north-west sector. To give the House some idea of the rapidity of that change, the first stage of the Rouse Hill development commenced in 1992. By 1998, in a matter of just six years, 4,436 lots had been developed. In June 1998 the first release area had a total of 19,456 residential lots, of which 10,950 were expected to be developed within five years. So there will be a massive growth in demand on an already choked road. The only road to service an area the size of Canberra, which will eventually have a population similar to that of Canberra, is just a single-lane road—one lane either way.

The New South Wales government has said that it is going to upgrade its priorities in relation to Windsor Road. The idea of upgrading the road, according to Mr Scully, is to spend $200 million on Windsor Road over the next 10 years. Some $200 million sounds like a lot of money, but that will change one-third of the road from a single lane to two lanes. So there are going to be bottlenecks, constrictions. There will be a whole series of choke points along Windsor Road, so the traffic will be stop-start for the whole distance of the road. There is no concept of forward planning in my home state, particularly with regard to Windsor Road. I am extremely disappointed that, despite protests and rallies, delegations by the three local governments concerned, great activity by the local members in the area—Mr Wayne Merton, Mr Michael Richardson and Mr Kevin Rozzoli—


Mr Slipper —All Liberals?


Mr CADMAN —Yes, they all happen to be Liberals, my friend. They have been absolutely diligent in pursuing the needs of their electors. They have taken delegations from local government. They have attended the protests. They have raised it. I have reams of the speeches they have made trying to encourage various ministers within the New South Wales government to do some forward planning. Windsor Road is the spine. It is the very conduit that allows people to travel from their area of residence to their place of work. I am told that, in a recent measurement, the count during morning peak traffic was that every hour 1,680 vehicles travelled southbound at a speed of less than 20 kilometres per hour. I understand that, by the year 2006, it is projected that the number of vehicles on Windsor Road will approach 4,000 per hour. It is impossible for the road in its current condition to handle that number of vehicles. Indeed, the locals expect there will be complete gridlock and stoppage. Side streets will be used.

I find the process of planning this area of development, planned from 1984 by the current Premier, absolutely incomprehensible. There has been plenty of time to make allowances for the needs of traffic. It was absolutely predictable. There is no public transport in the area—and public transport will not solve the problem, because there is so much commercial use made of Windsor Road. It feeds out into the hinterland of New South Wales, across the Blue Mountains and out into the districts of Bathurst, Dubbo and beyond. It is an important arterial road from a state perspective. I am grieving here in the House of Representatives for the people of my district, for their poor transportation systems and for the frustration and delays they suffer day after day as they seek to earn a decent, honest income. (Time expired)