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 24 March 2014


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (12:02): My electorate of Bennelong in north-western Sydney is home to some of Sydney’s most congested roads. Commuters face long delays every day as they deal with roads ill-equipped to carry the amount of traffic that now travels from and through the area. Epping Road, Beecroft Road, Pennant Hills Road, Victoria Road, Lane Cove Road and Blaxland Road are some of the major roads that service the constituents of Bennelong and beyond. Morning and evening traffic jams are commonplace for the thousands of commuters who travel these roads on a daily basis. A simple breakdown can back traffic up for kilometres, causing disruption to commuters, businesses and residents alike.

It is with this in mind that I applaud the New South Wales Liberal government and the federal Liberal-National government for pushing ahead to get the NorthConnex twin tunnels underway. The announcement that the nine-kilometre missing link between the M1 and M2 motorways is going to be built is a triumph for Bennelong. The NorthConnex will take the pressure off our major roads and return them to the community. The section of Pennant Hills Road that will be bypassed means traffic congestion in both directions through Bennelong will be improved. Beecroft Road, Epping Road, Carlingford Road, Blaxland Road, Victoria Road and Lane Cove Road are all set to reap the benefits—not to mention the dozens of busy local rat runs through the area that were never designed to take the amount of traffic currently visited upon them.

About 30 per cent of light vehicles and 50 per cent of heavy vehicles currently using Pennant Hills Road are expected to divert through the NorthConnex tunnel. With at least 5,000 trucks per day being diverted from Pennant Hills Road through the NorthConnex tunnels, the flow-on effect for everyday road users will be enormous. In addition, commuters and freight trucks will bypass up to 21 sets of traffic lights and reduce traffic time by more than 15 minutes.

Undoubtedly, there will be some local disruption for a period of time whilst construction of the tunnels is underway. Pending this approvals process this will be underway next year, with the tunnels expected to open in 2019. However, the benefits to our community will far outweigh the disruption once the bypass is completed. The NorthConnex will reduce noise pollution and stress on residents, who enjoy heavy vehicles barrelling along Pennant Hills Road 24 hours a day. The tunnel construction is even forecast to increase property values.

Previously, those travelling from north of Sydney to southern Sydney, the Southern Highlands, Canberra or even to Melbourne had to struggle through Sydney’s busy traffic, at times adding an hour or more to an already extensive journey. The NorthConnex will allow Sydney to be bypassed completely, and truck drivers, commuters and holiday-makers who have no intention or need to travel through the suburbs of Sydney will reach their destinations in record time. Once NorthConnex is complete, someone travelling from the Central Coast to Canberra could, essentially, enter the ACT without coming across one set of traffic lights. This offers a world-class travel experience and takes major pressure off Sydney’s already busy suburbs.

I am proud to be a part of the infrastructure government that is building the roads of the 21st century. The NorthConnex is a result of the strong working relationship between the Commonwealth and New South Wales state governments and is part of our plan to build a stronger economy, delivering growth and jobs. The Australian government is investing $405 million in this $3 billion project, and it will create around 2,000 jobs. Under the former government nothing happened; unlike Labor, the coalition actually delivers on its promises instead of just talking about them.

NorthConnex will become a major freight route for eastern Australia, and will effectively allow trucks to bypass Sydney. In our first term of government, we are getting on with the job and delivering the transport infrastructure Sydney desperately needs. This is a project that has been talked about for decades and which has now become a reality under the New South Wales and federal Liberal and National governments.

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