• Tony Bosworth

Labor commits to funding for third river crossing, plus millions of dollars for Hawkesbury roads

Labor has hit back at claims from the Liberal candidate that only she will deliver the so-called third river crossing - a duplication of North Richmond bridge and major road upgrade - by announcing an identical $400million funding promise, along with a call for real community involvement in choosing a “more flood resilient route”.

Federal Liberal candidate Sarah Richards has been posting paid-for Ads on social media claiming, “only Sarah Richards will deliver the Hawkesbury river third crossing,” which appears to suggest if Ms Richards isn’t elected, residents won’t see the $400m promised by the Federal government.

The project is actually State run and funded but the Morrison government said some months ago it would also contribute $400m to help ensure the project was amply funded.

Ms Templeman said today when announcing Labor’s road-funding commitments, “I heard the community’s concerns about cross-river congestion 12 years ago, and this duplication project is high on Labor’s priority list.

“We would expect open and transparent consultation with the community, by the NSW Government, to determine the route.”

“Whatever route the NSW Government chooses in relation to this project needs to be a more flood resilient one," Ms Templeman said.

“Building a bridge that offers no additional access when water levels rise is a waste of time and a waste of money."

Both the suggested Green and Yellow routes – which are so far the most favoured by Transport for NSW – saw large stretches under water during the last two major floods.

Ms Templeman also said today – Friday – Labor will match the $11.2million of tax payer’s money Liberal candidate Richards promised just this week would be spent on Hawkesbury roads.

The roads and work highlighted by Ms Richards are:

Rehabilitation of Bowen Mountain Road

Installation of new guard rails and flood gates

The upgrade of Crooked Lane in North Richmond and Golden Valley Drive in Glossodia.

The upgrade of Valder Road, Hobartville, Mitchell Drive, Glossodia, Scheyville Road and Pitt Town Dural Road, Cattai, Riverview Street, North Richmond, Gorricks Lane, Freemans Reach, and Walker Street, South Windsor.

“Labor will match the Government’s $11.2 million announcement to upgrade Hawkesbury roads,” said Ms Templeman, “but unlike them our commitment to improving local infrastructure will not be a one-off – it will continue outside of an election period.

“These roads projects are in addition to the Richmond Bridge duplication project, which will see $400 million worth of federal funding invested.

“A Labor government will ensure that the infrastructure we build can meet our needs not just now but into the future,” said the MP.

Liberal candidate Richards' social media post

claiming only she could deliver the North

Richmond bridge duplication

Ms Templeman also announced $37 million will be delivered for Richmond Road planning, and an additional $75 million will finalise planning and see initial construction of Bandon Road.

“Getting these corridors planned and built will make our roads safer and get people home sooner,” Ms Templeman said.

“Labor will also provide $50 million for planning and preparatory works for the Castlereagh Connection. In line with the NSW Government’s decision in 2018, the works will stop at Castlereagh Road.”

The MP said a Labor government would also provide additional funding for councils - including Hawkesbury which is struggling to maintain flood-damaged roads - to upgrade roads and infrastructure.

“We will extend the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program to allow more priority projects to be funded and more local roads to be upgraded,” Ms Templeman said.

Based on the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program introduced by Labor during the Global Financial Crisis, the LRCI Program will deliver funding directly to councils for local priority projects, upgrading infrastructure and supporting jobs growth across communities, said the MP.

MP Susan Templeman with Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Catherine King, at North Richmond Bridge

“Councils do great work, but many simply don’t have the resources to upgrade the assets they’re responsible for. That’s why a Labor Government will give them the support they need, partnering with councils across the country to upgrade local roads.”

Ms Templeman said the politics will also be taken out of infrastructure planning in Western Sydney under a Labor government by setting-up an expert panel to look at the region’s needs and to report ahead of the 2023 Budget.

“The panel will bring together all three levels of government across Western Sydney – from the southwest to the northwest - and conduct proper planning for future transport and infrastructure needs,” Ms Templeman said.

“It will also bring together community and local business representatives to provide feedback, so local people have a greater voice.”

“This $250million expansion of the LRCI program will deliver funding directly to councils in the electorate of Macquarie to undertake local priority projects, upgrading infrastructure and supporting jobs growth,” Ms Templeman said.

“When natural disaster affects roads, we need to see them repaired, but we also need to see them upgraded to cope better with future extreme weather.

“We certainly don’t want a repeat of what has happened at Cornwallis or Greens Road in Lower Portland.”

“An Albanese Labor Government will give local councils the support they need and partner with them to upgrade our local roads,” said the MP.

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