CAHILL EXPRESSWAY DEMOLITION
Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I wish to ask the Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council, representing the Premier, and Minister for Economic Development, a question without notice. Is it a fact that Prime
Minister Keating's Federal Australian Labor Party Government has $150 million surplus that he has offered to destroy the massive Australian Labor Party Cahill Expressway and railway overpass? Will the New South Wales Government make an immediate application to Mr Keating for this $150 million to be allocated for urgent drought relief in New South Wales, which is 83 per cent drought declared? What plans does the New South Wales Government have for the beautification of the Cahill Expressway in preparation for the year 2000 Olympic Games, as it has rejected Mr Keating's clever political ploy to remove the Cahill Expressway?
The PRESIDENT: Order! The Chair would be grateful if the Hon. Jan Burnswoods read her newspaper in the reading room rather than in the House.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I do not think anyone on this side of the House would regard the Prime Minister's offer of $150 million for the demolition of the Cahill Expressway as a smart political ploy at a time when New South Wales has so many other commonsense priorities. If the Prime Minister now intends to use political ploys, the State Government having rejected any proposal for the demolition of the Cahill Expressway, he might today, while he is in Queensland, decide that he will make that money available to help those in drought affected areas. I join with my National Party colleagues in condemning the Prime Minister, because if my recollection is correct this is the third occasion on which he has gone to Queensland, purportedly to show his concern for people who are suffering because of the drought. This is the first time he has actually gone legitimately to a drought affected area. On the last occasion Townsville was as close as he got to a drought affected area. He made certain announcements about other issues but purported to be addressing the issue of the drought.
I understand that on one occasion he went to Gilgandra, purportedly to show some concern about the drought. However, he only announced a grant, which was an annual allocation in any event, for a LandCare program. He did not announce anything new; he merely announced a LandCare grant normally provided to people of the central west. He turned up at Gilgandra to take advantage of a photo opportunity. At least he should emulate Bob Hawke and bring a bit of rain when he visits these areas. It is about time the Prime Minister showed some real care and concern for people in need. The New South Wales Government has now given him the opportunity to do so, but on the television news tonight we will see less than a dribble of money coming from him to help meet the needs of the people of the west.
I will deal with the Cahill Expressway issue, one of the commonsense priorities, and the extent to which honourable members are prepared to see the Federal Government or the Australian Labor Party genuinely address needs. The Cahill Expressway is another clear example that, as a follow-on from the question asked by the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby, ought to be put in a similar context. I made my comments on Badgerys Creek quite clear and the hypocrisy of the Federal Government's commitment to it.
The Federal Government has indicated that it will make available $150 million to demolish the Cahill Expressway, but has said that New South Wales is to meet the real need, which is to get transport from one side of Sydney to the other. If the Cahill Expressway is knocked down, where will the traffic go? Sydney will be put into a gridlock. So much for the Prime Minister's vision of Sydney. We have seen his vision of Badgerys Creek. His vision of Sydney is to bring it into a total transport gridlock.
If his commonsense priority is to demolish the Cahill Expressway, then do so, but at the same time, if he wants to go to bed with the Lord Mayor - and it is a lousy bed to get into - and embrace the Lord Mayor's vision for cross-city tunnels, why does he not complete the total program and provide the money to address the traffic problems that will arise? This Government will pursue commonsense priorities. At present the commonsense priority for transport in the central business district is the eastern distributor, the continuation of the tunnel, and getting the traffic through the eastern part of the CBD to connect it through to Anzac Parade and -
Members opposite keep coming back to the question of the real vision of the Prime Minister and the ALP. When Laurie Brereton was the Minister he had the opportunity to deal with the issue of the eastern distributor. He got started but then pulled down the shutter on dealing with the traffic problems of the CBD. This Government is now in a position where it has the resources and is prepared to pursue a program of joint venture investments between the public sector and the private sector. The ALP totally opposes the concept of joint venture construction of infrastructure, but the Government is prepared to do it to complete the program that Laurie Brereton began but left for this Government to clean up. That is another one of the ALP disasters that we have to complete, again at the general expense of the community. The Government will, as a commonsense priority, allocate resources to completing that project. So much for ALP vision.
We went to the Prime Minister and said, "Come in with New South Wales and let us connect the CBD of Sydney through to the airport. Let us join the international community and provide rail transport links between the international airport and the CBD". Where was Laurie Brereton? Where was the Prime Minister? They kicked us out of the office. They would not entertain a program that would put in place an international transport link for a real vision for Sydney.
Then we had discussions with them over the Glebe Island Bridge and they promised to make money available. What happened there? Glebe Island Bridge today is only partially built. Left to our Commonwealth colleagues, that is the way that bridge
would remain. The Commonwealth is not prepared to put in the money to finish the span. This Government is prepared to complete the necessary infrastructure in this State and is not prepared to tie itself to the shallow commitments of the ALP. The ALP is all wind when it comes to a real commitment to meet the needs of Sydney and particularly to be able to complete a real vision for Sydney. This Government is prepared to plan, fund and deliver on these types of commitments to meet the needs of Sydney.