Sydney Tramway Museum

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SpeakersDowny Mr Christopher; Phillips Mr Ronald
BusinessPrivate Members Statements


Mr DOWNY (Sutherland) [5.30]: This evening I wish to bring to the attention of the House a most exciting project that has been proposed by the Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus. It is proposed to extend into the Royal National Park the tramway services that the tramway museum presently operates. Over a number of years the Sydney Tramway Museum has developed an extensive tramway complex adjacent to Loftus railway station. This complex includes all the rolling-stock, a depot and maintenance and power supply infrastructure necessary to operate a tramway service. In addition, the museum has a fully trained traffic and maintenance staff in its membership. I cannot think of a more highly motivated group of volunteers, with the possible exception of the bush fire brigades, than the men and women who operate the Sydney Tramway Museum. The museum has constructed and operates a tramway which extends from Loftus up to the railway line at Sutherland. In the next 12 months it is proposed to extend that tramway service -

Mr McManus: Into my electorate?

Mr DOWNY: No, the other way, up to Sutherland railway station in the Sutherland electorate. We will have a tramway service that will run from Sutherland railway station down to the tramway museum, passing by the new Loftus technical and further education college. The tramway museum proposes that the line be extended to run on to the existing CityRail line, cross the Princes Highway and run down to the Royal National Park station. The tramway museum would run an hourly service on weekends and public holidays. The museum maintains that, if necessary, it could also run a skeletal service during the week. There is no doubt that the tramway museum has the capacity to take over the operation and maintenance of and run trams on the Royal National Park line. This proposal has received great support in the local community, in particular from the Sutherland Chamber of Commerce, which earlier this year wrote to me and said that it regards the facility of the tramway in its proposed extended form as a major asset to complement other major investments such as the new Loftus TAFE college and other planned investment in tourism such as the redevelopment of the Sutherland United Services Club.

The proposal has excited the local community. The trams and tramline attract much interest. As a tram buff, having visited the museum a number of times, I fully support the proposal. The service, with the flexibility offered by trams, could be quickly put together and run on the rail line into the Royal National Park. Tonight I am asking for the support of the Government, the Deputy Premier, Minister for Public Works and Minister for Roads and the Minister for Transport to ensure that this project gets off the ground. I understand that the Roads and Traffic Authority has some concerns about the level crossing at the Princes Highway. But the Government and the RTA, given the potential of the tramway as a tourist attraction in the Sutherland area, should offer the Sydney Tramway Museum all possible support to ensure the success of the proposed service.

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There is no doubt that the unique nature of the service would attract a ready market in the community. The reason that CityRail shut down the train service to the Royal National Park was, as the honourable member for Bulli well knows, that no one was travelling there by train. The proposal offers an opportunity for an exciting tramway service running from Sutherland to the Royal National Park, which would increase patronage of the park. I ask the Government to support the proposal, and in particular I ask the Deputy Premier, Minister for Public Works and Minister for Roads to give consideration to keeping the level crossing open.

Mr PHILLIPS (Miranda - Minister for Health Services Management) [5.37]: Once again the honourable member for Sutherland has spoken on an issue that will not only affect his constituents but will also be of significant benefit to all the people living in the Sutherland shire and to other residents of this State. When embarking on a State program to develop tourist infrastructure and seeking to bleed funds into outer areas rather than concentrating it in the Sydney city area, one has to offer a range of activities to attract visitors to a particular place. The Sutherland shire is blessed with a number of advantages: beautiful beaches in the Cronulla-Wanda area, waterways that completely surround the shire, and a rail infrastructure from the city to the main link at Sutherland and down the peninsula to Cronulla. The Sutherland electorate also has the Thomas Waterhouse camellia gardens, a significant destination visited by busloads of tourists. Further down the coast the Sydney Tramway Museum, which has been built up over many years by dedicated people - a museum which at first had a lot of knockers - has grown into a significant tourist and recreational spot of historic importance to the people of Sutherland shire, Sydney and New South Wales.

Those dedicated people are to be commended for the excellent work they have done and are doing. They are now looking to the next step of that museum's long-term development: a viable tramway link running from Sutherland railway station down to Loftus and into the Royal National Park. That tremendous idea of foresight and vision needs to be supported. I am more than happy to take the representations of the honourable member for Sutherland, on behalf of the members of the Sydney Tramway Museum, to the Minister for Transport and the Deputy Premier, Minister for Public Works and Minister for Roads to ensure that serious consideration is given to this far-sighted proposal.