Gareth Ward has made yet another blah, blah media announcement over the latest paper shuffling involving scheduled planning for the Albion Park Rail Bypass but still refuses to tell his constituents whether he favours starting the bypass over the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade, Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, said over the weekend.
“Mr Ward announcing that RMS bureaucrats have moved a paper clip from one side of the desk to the other doesn’t an Albion Park Rail Bypass make.
“The motorists and commuters who are suck in traffic each and every day don’t care about RMS paperwork.
“They only care about knowing what day the shovels hit the ground to start building the Albion Park Rail bypass so they don’t have to suffer another four years of frustrating congestion.
“Mr Ward is trying to con people into thinking there is magical progress on the Albion Park Rail Bypass when, in fact, the State Liberal Government has made no funding commitment to building the bypass at all.
“Mr Ward is clearly still smarting from the public slap down he received last week from Glimore Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis, who called him “irresponsible and incorrect” after Mr Ward’s demand the Federal Government contribute to upgrading the Princes Highway.
“This is despite Mr Ward and other State Liberal colleagues making clear over the last 16 years that the Princes Highway is a state road and a State Government responsibility.
“Mr Ward still refuses to tell his local community in Albion Park, Berry and Bomaderry whether he supports starting the Albion Park Rail Bypass before the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade or vice versa.
“I just don’t understand why Mr Ward won’t come clean with his local community and tell them honestly where he stands.
“I’ve made my position very clear: I’ll fight any attempt by the State Liberals to start the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade before the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“The $1.1 million RMS report commissioned by Mr Ward’s own Government makes very clear that traffic volumes now justify an investment in the estimated $600 million Albion Park Rail Bypass:
“At the time, RTA (now Roads and Maritime) advised the community that construction of the preferred route [of the Albion Park Rail Bypass] would be unlikely to take place within 15 years as traffic volumes were not sufficient to justify investment in the project.” (Albion Park Rail Bypass, Strategic Corridor Review, December 2013, page 1, Executive Summary.)
“Traffic volumes to justify investing in this important infrastructure , as the RMS report confirms, did not exist over the last 15 years.
“Instead, the former State Labor Government preserved the preferred route and corridor for the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“I want to start building the Albion Park Rail Bypass during the next Parliamentary term”, Ms Watson said.
Ms Watson said that the former State Labor Government had a good record on building roads in the southern Illawarra by:
- Completion of Oak Flats to Dunmore, $108 million;
- Completion of Oak Flats Interchange, $28 million;
- Completion of the North Kiama Bypass, $179 million;
- Completion of Kiama on & off ramps, $8 million.
18 January 2015