Transcript of Interview: The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 2GB
10 November 2014
Subject: Round One of the $200 million Western Sydney Local Roads Package
Alan Jones: This is a very important infrastructure package for Western Sydney which is long overdue. There is allegedly a $3.6 billion Western Sydney infrastructure plan. And I quote the words of Jamie Briggs, ‘that will unlock the region's economic capacity by boosting productivity, slashing travel times, and creating thousands of local jobs.’ Now the first four projects are a $1.1 million upgrade to intersections on The Northern Road and Erskine Park Road—those of you who are out there in this traffic mess will know what that means. $5.8 million in intersection upgrades for the Cumberland Highway. $5.7 million upgrade of Wetherill Street. And a $17.5 million to Eagle Vale Drive. Jamie Briggs, the Assistant Minister has rung through. Jamie, good morning.
Jamie Briggs: Good morning, Alan.
Alan Jones: So, what exactly are you seeking to do here?
Jamie Briggs: Well, this morning, with Duncan Gay we'll be announcing the first of the $200 million package of local road upgrade as part of our $3.6 billion overall upgrade to Western Sydney infrastructure. This is the element of the package which was open for local councils to bid in a competitive process. We've had the first round and this morning we're announcing nearly $30 million out of $200 million of the local road package. These are the roads, Alan, that connect…
Alan Jones: The M5 and the M7.
Jamie Briggs:…the major roads that we're upgrading and…
Alan Jones: Yeah. Camden Valley Way I understand, you know, you're going to announce the completion of that are you? The Camden Valley Way upgrade?
Jamie Briggs: Yes, that's something that New South Wales Government, led by Duncan Gay, have been working on and they'll be announcing its completion this morning. So, there is a lot of work that's begun, but there is an enormous amount of work which is about to begin. For instance, the Bringelly Road upgrade will begin in January. That's a just over a $500 million project. That work will begin in January. The Werrington Arterial—that work will begin very soon as well. That's a $70 million project the State and Federal Government are funding. This is all part of the $3.6 billion dollars we allocated to upgrade the infrastructure in Western Sydney.
Alan Jones: Yeah, I mean this is the third largest economy in Australia.
Jamie Briggs: Absolutely and there is enormous growth potential. There'll be a million new people in Western Sydney in the next decade. You've got very strong advocates out in Western Sydney, like Fiona Scott and Russell Matheson, who have been arguing very strongly that they need additional infrastructure investment to make the most of these opportunities.
Alan Jones: Yes, you have assessed all of these, have you not, as delivering the greatest economic uplift and safety benefit for local communities. I have to say, independently whether there'll ever be an airport at Badgerys Creek, this is long overdue to try and give these people a level of road infrastructure that they're entitled to.
Jamie Briggs: Absolutely. I think what we're seeing too often in Australia—and you're seeing here in the inner parts of Sydney with having to have big tunnel projects to get under the issues on Parramatta Road—is we don't plan growth all that well. Previous governments certainly, previous State Labor Governments here in New South Wales have abandoned infrastructure investment. Thankfully Mike Baird and his team, with Duncan Gay leading the way as the roads minister, have been heavily investing in the road infrastructure and the Federal Government's a big part of that with the $3.6 billion allocated to the Western Sydney package. 80 per cent of it is Federal Government money.
Alan Jones: Long, long overdue. Jamie just hang on because there's a call here, someone wants to ask you a question. Nick, hello.
Caller Nick: G'day Alan, listen, some years ago there was a road specialist on your program and he suggested something that would alleviate the problem we have at the Granville Viaduct. He said a lick of paint—he said it to you, I can remember hearing it. A lick of paint, take out the breakdown lanes for 200 metres and you've solved that issue. They've straightened out the lanes going into the toll booths and they thought they'd solved the problem. All they did was funnel more into those two lanes. It's a misery and it goes back all the way to five [indistinct] all because of those two damn lanes, Alan.
Alan Jones: Well, look, that's most probably beyond the South Australian Jamie Briggs' capacity to answer. But you hang on, Nick, and I'll get that information from you and I'll make sure I email Jamie about it and you can rest assured, he's a good young man this fellow Jamie Briggs and he'll get us an answer to it. How's that?
Caller Nick: Thank you, Alan.
Alan Jones: You go back to James. So, Jamie there you are we've thrown another problem on your plate, okay?
Jamie Briggs: No worries Alan, we're happy to look at it for you.
Alan Jones: Okay, there's another matter I've got to talk to you about, I'll give you a call.
Jamie Briggs: Thank you very much, Alan.
Alan Jones: Okay, you're most welcome.