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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1871

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (10:21): It is with great pleasure that I second the motion by the member for Reid. I know this is a motion that is also close to your heart, Madam Speaker, as you have contributed much to the people of Western Sydney throughout your entire political career. WestConnex is the largest road transport project in Australia. It will provide a new way of travelling across Sydney, ensuring quick trips for commuters to the airport and Port Botany from Western Sydney. I would like to connect myself with the statements made by the honourable member for Reid and reiterate his sentiments about the disruption to his community in Strathfield, Cabarita and Canada Bay, the congestion that makes life for his community challenging every day—particularly on weekends—when getting kids to and from sport and school. I also look forward to the beautification projects for Parramatta Road, which has become an eyesore. It is about time we beautified this region and took pride in our inner west. I also reiterate my disappointment in those opposite who are determined to politicise these issues with narrow-minded small points.

Building WestConnex is proof that federal and state governments can work together and deliver better infrastructure to the people of Sydney. The Abbott government's investment in the WestConnex project is proof that we are getting serious about getting on with the job of delivering the roads of the 21st century. For too long, successive governments have shirked the responsibility of providing vital infrastructure to the people of Western Sydney. We all remember that it was the former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr who stated 'Sydney is full'. Such statements are most unhelpful to the people of my region. As an outer metropolitan electorate in the Sydney basin, we often find ourselves at the back of the queue of overcrowded infrastructure. When travelling to the city we must fight the bottlenecks of Strathfield, Concord, Homebush, Parramatta and Blacktown and then in our own region of the greater Nepean Valley. This knock-on effect of not investing in infrastructure right through Western Sydney causes great frustration to the people living in my electorate and travelling from it. I believe WestConnex is a vital brick in the road to decongesting these bottlenecks.

Every day, two-thirds of the Lindsay workforce must leave the region for employment opportunities. Our region is one of the fastest growing in Australia, and it is projected that over the next 20 years an additional half-million people will make Western Sydney their home. In essence, for the people of my region, that is akin to constructing a Canberra to the north and a Canberra to the south of Penrith. My region of Western Sydney must ready itself not only for the challenges of providing existing infrastructure to meet the demands of the current population but also for the needs of future generations. I look forward to working with the infrastructure Prime Minister not only in the master-planning process that is essential to providing the vital roads and rail demanded by the people of Western Sydney but also on providing an infrastructure pipeline crucial in meeting the future needs in connecting our regions.

I acknowledge the legacy of Prime Minister John Howard and his achievement of delivering the M7 under budget and ahead of schedule. As the M7 has already demonstrated, key roads in Western Sydney are an essential catalyst for future investment and are sure to create more local jobs. We need only look at Norwest, Erskine business park, and Dunheved Business Park and we will see the opportunities that have been created in those regions. Look also at what is happening at the Light Horse Interchange. These are exciting for the people of Western Sydney. It is about time we brought jobs to where the people live.

WestConnex will allow our local residents to bypass 52 sets of traffic lights and save 40 minutes on their trip to the city. It will, finally, connect the M5 and M4 corridors. WestConnex will enable the people of Lindsay to spend more time with their families and less time on the road. It will save businesses time and money, allowing deliveries to be received and sent more efficiently. It will give heavy vehicles real choices about how to travel across Sydney without clogging up local roads and needing to stop at countless traffic lights. Currently, we see a massive backlog in freight, with links to the airport and the port not able to cope with demand. More than half—13 hours—of any 24-hour period sees the M4 strangled, with more than 170,000 trucks and cars. This costs the state and national economies billions of dollars. Estimates put the cost to Sydney of this congestion as high as $8.8 billion by 2020. Therefore, I am pleased to note that WestConnex will return some $20 billion to the New South Wales economy. Not only will WestConnex deliver that economic benefit to New South Wales but it will help create 10,000 jobs during construction, including hundreds of apprenticeships.

The O'Farrell government breaks WestConnex into three stages. Stage 1 is the concept design from Parramatta to Homebush. The O'Farrell government has already commenced holding public information sessions along this corridor. In many cases these have been held by my very good friend the member for Penrith, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP—it is great to be able to call him 'the honourable'. I congratulate him on his ascension into the New South Wales ministry. Stage 1 also involves widening the M4 into four lanes in each direction between Church Street, Parramatta, and Homebush Bay Drive, then further extending the M4 via a tunnel along Parramatta Road through to the City West Link at Haberfield. I am sure that that is the part that the member for Reid is very anxious to see. Clearing this bottleneck allows us in the outer suburbs of Western Sydney a huge opportunity, because it is this bottleneck that sees traffic banked back as far as St Marys every single peak hour. Work is due to commence on this in 2015.

Stage 2 focuses on the M5 east corridor, widening the M5 to four lanes in each direction between King Georges Road and Bexley Road.

Mr Coleman: Hear, hear!

Ms SCOTT: It is nice to see that the member for Banks is very excited about that. Further, there will be a six-kilometre tunnel to join this section of motorway to the St Peters area, as well as a surface link to Sydney Airport. Stage 3 will see an 8.5-metre tunnel linking stages 1 and 2 via the Camperdown area with three lanes in each direction. Together, the New South Wales and Australian governments are contributing $3.3 billion to WestConnex with the whole 33-kilometre corridor to cost around $11 billion. In addition to the motorway, urban revitalisation will take place along the Parramatta Road corridor. WestConnex will take around 3,000 trucks a day off Parramatta Road—and that will be great for Strathfield families—and put them into a tunnel allowing for around 25,000 new homes and 25,000 new jobs over the next 20 years. We are removing the burden that has been placed on Australian businesses.

I am pleased to second the motion of the member for Reid and am proud to be part of a government that will continue providing real solutions to the people of Western Sydney. I commend the motion to the House.