Bondi Beach Rail Proposal

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SpeakersDebnam Mr Peter
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 11013

    Mr DEBNAM (Vaucluse) [6.01 p.m.]: I refer again to the Bondi Beach rail proposal. I regret to say that it appears as though I have to raise this issue, which goes back over a period of four years, with the Government every six months. The Government seems to be making very little progress in relation to this project. Six months ago I remember asking the Minister for Transport to come clean on the Government's intentions. Since then I have received no information from the Government about what it is doing. I am aware that it is having great difficulties in relation to this project, as it is with every other aspect of the rail system in New South Wales.

    I understand that four years ago the Premier wanted to push this major project from day one. The Government, the Minister and various rail authorities have made a complete mess of this issue from day one. The first proposal was clearly not viable in a technical sense, a financial sense or from the community's point of view. I am not sure whether it is getting any better. It is not that difficult to put up a good infrastructure proposal. The Minister has to address a number of issues. I ask him to consider those issues and to tell this House whether he is informed on this project, whether he is managing it properly and whether it has a future.

    Public transport in Bondi Beach is critical. My constituents are dependent upon the current public transport system. the bus system, to get to and from work. Honourable members may be aware that the bus route to Bondi Junction is one of the busiest and most profitable public transport routes in Australia. A viable rail link would certainly be a worthwhile addition if it could be presented not only as a financially viable project but also as a project that had real appeal to residents. I make a number of points. The Minister must inform the House what stage this project has reached. If he is proceeding with this rail project to Bondi Beach, will there be a mid-station on Bondi ridge between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach? That would certainly enhance the project from the community's point of view and allow people on the ridge—Bondi Road runs up the ridge—to use the rail line.

    Will the station at Bondi Beach be easily accessible for residents living west of Campbell Parade? Honourable members would appreciate that almost 100 per cent of residents live west of Campbell Parade. The other market that the Minister may be targeting are fish. He will not get the right price from that market. He must address those issues affecting residents west of Campbell Parade. Will the project include a dual track in the tunnels between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach to minimise disruption due to State Rail schedule failures? As we have witnessed in a number of other areas we simply cannot guarantee the performance of State Rail. A dual track would be needed to make this service viable.

    Will the bus and train services be jointly managed to ensure that public transport services are optimised for residents not only at Bondi Beach but also along Bondi Road? Will ticket prices be set at a price which encourages residents to use the service and to leave their private vehicles at home? Will the project proceed only after a full evaluation of light rail alternatives has been undertaken? On what date will the Minister finally release the environmental impact statement? What will be the closing date for comment? What form will community consultation take? If the Minister answers those questions we might then be confident about what he is doing. But I doubt whether he has any idea of the stage that this project has reached.

    I again invite the Minister to come into the House and to tell us what stage this project has reached. It is no wonder that the Premier has convened an industry forum tomorrow to release a green paper on the delivery of infrastructure. The Bondi rail project is a typical example of the mess into which this Government has got itself over the past five years in the delivery of infrastructure in this State. It cannot deliver the huge amount of infrastructure that New South Wales needs without a partnership with the private sector. I look forward to seeing the green paper tomorrow and I look forward to being able to determine whether the Government will move from its current ad hoc approach to a real policy position. Will we see a policy from this Government on infrastructure?