Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NSW Government will ignore advice and go ahead with light rail project

Perrotate said the government’s intention to pursue the project was not political, although the Liberal-held seat of Parramatta would be targeted by Labor in the March election.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic is an example of when governments sometimes need to re-evaluate priorities.

An artist's impression of the second phase of the Light Rail Line on the Parramatta River between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.
An artist’s impression of the second phase of the Light Rail Line on the Parramatta River between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.Credit:pesey

“When circumstances change you should have the humility to sit there and say, ‘Okay, what’s the best way to stage projects in the best interest of the people of our state?’ ,

City Minister Rob Stokes said it was inevitable that NSW reached a saturation point for the number of megaprojects that could be delivered at once, but that the government was not abandoning its signature infrastructure pipeline in any way.

“Infrastructure is still the foundation of this government, that’s what we do, we build things. We will do everything, but we can’t do everything at the same time,” Stokes said.

“We would always get to a point where the ramp up in a big way was about to get down to business as usual. What we’re realizing now is that it’s important to moderate the contract so that we’re not really just bidding against ourselves and artificially phasing out costs. ,

Although Stokes would not confirm the amount of money allocated for the light rail project in the budget, he said “it’s a lot of money”.

He said the light rail project, which has been under suspicion for years, was chosen to go ahead despite independent advice, otherwise due to population and housing growth in the area.

“There’s going to be significant urban expansion. While [the] Beach link and M6 phase two, they are not areas where there is going to be significant habitat in the same period,” he said.

“So while we’re making a choice about contracting early, we’re obviously going to prefer those that are going to have the closest alignment with the new housing supply.”

The Infrastructure NSW report, which was brought forward at the request of former Premier Gladys Berejiklian due to COVID-19, cites both the pandemic and an overheated construction market as the two biggest risks for charging with large builds.

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