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Wednesday, 8 December 1993
Page: 4149

Senator WEST —My question is directed to the Minister for Transport and Communications. I note the support by the Commonwealth government for the construction of the Glebe Island Bridge in Sydney, which will act as a gateway to the Homebush Olympic site and also relieve a lot of traffic congestion in that area. Can the minister advise the Senate of the progress that has been made towards the completion of this vital infrastructure development?

Senator COLLINS —I am pleased to say that this is an extremely important construction project for the city of Sydney. It will, in fact, be the primary transport link between the Sydney central business district and the Homebush Bay Olympic venue. The construction of this bridge was a vital part of the transport infrastructure plan which was included in the winning Sydney 2000 Olympic bid.

  The bridge, scheduled for completion in 1998, will overcome the very severe traffic congestion which is currently being experienced between Pyrmont and Balmain. As well as allowing a smooth flow of traffic to Homebush Bay and the suburbs around Parramatta, it will greatly improve road freight access to Sydney's inner ports. The total cost of the project is $150 million. The six-lane bridge will extend 800 metres between two towers, which will rise 120 metres above water level.

  As well as providing an essential link to the Olympic venue and easing traffic congestion, it will add very significantly to the visual amenity of Sydney. It will be a magnificent structure from an engineering point of view. In fact, it will be the first major concrete cable-stayed bridge constructed in Australia. Of course, the most prominent international example of this type of bridge is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

  The Commonwealth has strongly supported this project from the beginning because we have understood the significance of the construction of this bridge to the Olympic bid for Sydney. To date, the Commonwealth has contributed $66 million toward the construction of the bridge. I am pleased to advise the Senate that I have today approved additional funding of $24 million for further works on the Glebe Island Bridge. This will bring the total Commonwealth contribution to this project—

Senator Panizza —Is it a Labor electorate?

Senator COLLINS —It is in the electorate of Sydney, which is a Labor electorate, and it actually feeds into a number of other Labor electorates. I think the transport minister, Mr Baird, will be extremely pleased about the additional $24 million that I have provided him with this morning.

  These extra funds were provided from within this year's allocation for the national arterial roads in New South Wales. The reason we were able to provide them is that savings that were made on other national arterial projects have freed up over $35 million, which can now be spent on additional works in New South Wales. I think that this supports the comment that I made to Senator Short the other day in a debate on the Auditor-General's report that the Commonwealth is effectively concentrating on getting the best possible results in terms of outputs from our road program. The city of Sydney will benefit significantly from this additional $24 million that was injected into the project this morning.