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Westconnex Green Light

Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Barry O’Farrell has announced the government will proceed with Infrastructure NSW’s recommendation to deliver a key motorway project for Sydney’s west.

The 33-kilometre WestConnex tollway will link Sydney’s west with the airport and the Port Botany precinct, and will include the M4 extension and duplication of the M5 East to King Georges Road.

\”Even though times are tough, we recognise the need to invest in economic infrastructure to help boost productivity and create jobs,\” Mr O’Farrell said.

WestConnex is the key recommendation of Infrastructure NSW (INSW) which today released its report into the state’s infrastructure needs.

INSW recommends WestConnex is delivered in three to five stages. It estimates reduced travel times of between 15 and 35 minutes between Sydney’s west and south west and the airport and Port Botany.

INSW has forecast a target cost for the project of around $10 billion and recommended it be mostly funded by tolls.

Mr O’Farrell said the government had decided WestConnex would also be partly funded through Restart NSW – the state’s new infrastructure fund which is receiving money from asset sales and leases.

He said an initial $1.8 billion from Restart NSW (see separate release) had been earmarked for WestConnex.

\”We said we would start work on one of Sydney’s missing motorway links in this term of government and WestConnex is that project,\” Mr O’Farrell said.

\”Infrastructure NSW has conducted a rigorous appraisal of the state’s infrastructure needs and we accept its view that WestConnex is the best initial project for our community and our economy.

\”The previous Labor Government had 16 years to do something about the missing links but squibbed every opportunity. While separate investigations have been carried out for major projects on the M4 and M5 in the past, this is the first time the corridor has been looked at in its entirety.

\”Today I can announce the next important phase in this project – the immediate establishment of the Sydney Motorways Project Office, within Roads and Maritime Services, which will be responsible for the detailed work required to make this road a reality.

\”INSW has painted the big picture and we are getting on with the detailed work that is now needed – route identification, construction design and timetabling, community consultation, and developing a funding and financing strategy,\” Mr O’Farrell said.

INSW’s WestConnex proposal will see:

_ The M4 from Parramatta to North Strathfield widened; and then extended to Taverners Hill. The extension will be designed to allow the renewal of Parramatta Road by putting some sections underground, and some sections above ground;

_ A tunnel from Taverners Hill to the St Peters area via the Camperdown area (the Inner West bypass);

_ A Sydney Airport Access Link between the St Peters area and the M5 East tunnel, with links to the airport terminals, Port Botany and surrounding industrial areas; and

_ Duplication of the M5 East Motorway to King Georges Road, including a new tunnel.

Treasurer Mike Baird said funds for Restart NSW had already been secured through the successful long-term lease of the desalination plant.

\”The process for the long-term lease of Port Botany and Port Kembla and the sale of remaining electricity generators is also underway,\” Mr Baird said.

\”These funds will go towards the government’s commitment to WestConnex. Not only will these transactions provide billions more for infrastructure, they will also free up additional borrowing capacity so that we can continue to invest in more infrastructure in the future.

\”We are also looking to the Federal Government to get on board and provide NSW with its fair share of funding. The Federal Coalition has already committed $1.5 billion to the M4 extension.\”

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said WestConnex would be a major economic and productivity boost for NSW.

\”This project is of significance to businesses right across NSW as it will increase freight efficiency to and from the State’s biggest air and sea ports,\” he said.

\”The NSW Government understands the importance of moving goods and supplies to and from our global gateways, Port Botany and Sydney Airport, as quickly as possible.

\”The concept from INSW has been developed to integrate with other transport modes along the corridor, supporting future improvements to the freight and passenger rail networks, as well as other public transport initiatives,\” Mr Stoner said.

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Stuart Ayres - Member for Penrith

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