Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange
25th May 2017
Mr GREG PIPER ( Lake Macquarie ) ( 13:07 :55 ): I support the motion of the member for Wallsend, and I commend the member for Wallsend for moving it. The Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange at Glendale will straddle the boundary of our electorates, and I am pleased that there is strong bipartisan support for an important and essential project that will bring significant benefit to the entire Hunter region. It remains a great shame, though, that successive governments have not shown a similar commitment to assist Lake Macquarie City Council achieve this goal which will benefit the region.
I have spoken in this House numerous times about the planned interchange and the great benefits it will bring at relatively low cost, and I have had regular discussions with the former and present Ministers for Transport and Infrastructure and Premiers. They know that this project is considered the number one infrastructure priority in the Hunter Valley region—a region that continues to make an enormous contribution to the economic and social success of the State. It is backed by every single State and Federal member of Parliament in the Hunter Valley region as well as by the Property Council of Australia's Hunter Chapter, the Hunter Business Chamber, NRMA, large employers and other stakeholders and, most significantly, all regional councils within Hunter Councils.
I will look at some numbers and at the New South Wales Government's Hunter Regional Plan 2036. That document predicts that an additional 6,200 jobs and 4,000 new dwellings will be created by 2031 in the Glendale-Cardiff area.
Lake Macquarie City Council's planning estimates predict that the greater Glendale area will host an additional 13,635 people, 6,200 jobs and 6,000 new dwellings by 2030. Traffic and transport infrastructure is absolutely crucial to support that growth. For the next stage of this project to proceed the State contribution of $13 million is needed. That, with contributions from Lake Macquarie Council and the Federal Government, will allow for the construction of the Pennant Street Bridge across the rail line.
The bridge will be used by some 16,000 vehicles daily, including 1,500 heavy vehicles. A further $4.5 million will build the 700-metre missing link in Munibung Road, which would take significant congestion away from surrounding areas at Warners Bay, Cardiff, Glendale, Argenton and Boolaroo. It would reduce travel times between the industrial estate at Cardiff and Speers Point from 11 minutes to just one minute. That is a better investment than the investments discussed around Broadmeadow and Newcastle for the greater region.
The transport interchange will do all the things which the State Government wants it to do. It will provide a central, modern, convenient, essential public transport hub which will get people out of their cars and onto public transport. This is a $13 million commitment for the next stage of the interchange project and $4.5 million, if the Government can see its way to do it, to extend Munibung Rd. This is not some folly or vanity project—it is a no?brainer. As we know, just up the road in Newcastle there is a not so quiet revolution going on. There the State Government, to its credit, is spending almost half a billion dollars revitalising the city centre, installing a short albeit boutique-style light rail service to replace the heavy rail line it ripped out. I do not begrudge the people of Newcastle one cent of that money, but for a great deal less I believe Lake Macquarie can provide for housing, jobs and services to a greater extent that will benefit the region well into the future.
I have spoken with the Premier and she has repeated the claims made on her very first day in office when she committed her Government to making local infrastructure projects her biggest priority. I commend her on that initiative and for recognising the importance of the regions—particularly Lake Macquarie, which contributes greatly to the State's wealth. Lake Macquarie transport interchange could not fit the Government's mould better. If it wants to champion local infrastructure projects, this is the best example in our area that it could fund. The planning is all but complete, the shovels are ready and the people are keen—it just needs what in real terms is a relatively small investment from the State.
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