$33m study pledged by State and Feds to identify Hawkesbury-Nepean flood infrastructure improvements
The State and Federal governments announced this morning some $33m for a planning study to identify potential infrastructure improvements and fund a “plan of works” to ultimately boost flood resilience in our region.
It's taken years for the governments to decide on the funding, even just for this study - as NSW Minister Natalie Ward pointed out today, a report back in 2017 had identified a need for road infrastructure improvements across four Western Sydney Local Government Areas, including the Hawkesbury.
It’s early days on today's announced study too - there’s no timescale for when work on the study will begin (one MP has called for funding to be “administered as quickly as possible”), or when specific infrastructure improvements might be unveiled, or when work would begin on those improvements, or what they will cost – rather it is the very beginning of the process.
Most of the improvements – yet to be officially itemised – will apparently be in the Penrith local government area, according to a media release from ministers, with some potentially in the Hawkesbury.
Federal Infrastructure Minister, Paul Fletcher, said this morning, “this jointly funded planning study is an important step towards developing a program of works that will help improve the resilience of the local road network and support an efficient evacuation in the event of flooding.”
“The Australian and New South Wales governments have today announced $33 million in funding for a program to identify more than 100 infrastructure improvements that will boost the resilience of the flood evacuation network throughout the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley,” says the joint statement from Federal Minister Paul Fletcher, NSW Minister for Metropolitan Roads, Natalie Ward, Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne, NSW Deputy Premier Stuart Ayers, and Liberal MP for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh.
The study, which is being jointly funded on a 50:50 State Federal basis, will provide “a plan of works” to improve flood evacuation in the region such as road widening, new culvert and bridge structures, road raising, pinch point upgrades, and drainage improvements.
Minister Fletcher, said the money for the study was a vital investment, “with 140,000 people currently living or working in the [Hawkesbury-Nepean] valley”.
“The Morrison Government is committed to the safety and wellbeing of residents across the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, which has the highest flood risk in NSW,” Minister Fletcher said.
Minister Ward said that, following the release of the NSW Government’s Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities: Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy in 2017, Transport for NSW had identified a need for road infrastructure improvements across four Western Sydney Local Government Areas, including the Hawkesbury.
“These improvements include road widening, new culvert and bridge structures, road raising, pinch point upgrades and drainage improvements,” Minister Ward said.
Senator Payne, said the infrastructure plan would “establish a pipeline of critical projects that would help cement Western Sydney’s economic recovery”.
“This plan will make our communities safer at the same time as generating local jobs across a variety of sectors,” she said.
MP McIntosh said she was advocating for the funding to be “administered as quickly as possible,” adding, “during the March 2021 floods, Llandilo, Castlereagh, Londonderry, Agnes Banks were severely impacted by these damaging and dangerous floods.”
Transport for NSW will work with local councils, including Hawkesbury, to find out where improvements need to be made and to help draw up a plan.
If you are already a Hawkesbury Post supporter, thank you! Our site is free, relying on our supporters to operate. Independent journalism is more important than ever, please consider contributing.
Don't pay so you can read it. Pay so everybody can read it!