A leaked report has revealed the impact of $75m in lost federal funding for the Wakehurst Parkway.

A report prepared by Transport for NSW for a senior NSW Government Minister was yesterday (Friday, 10 March) obtained by the Northern Beaches Advocate.

The official Transport for NSW report dispels the myth that there were no firm plans for the $150m in funding earmarked for the Wakehurst Parkway, or that the money had been contingent on the Northern Beaches tunnel project going ahead.

The report clearly shows where the $150m would have been spent, and how plans have been scaled back since the new Federal Labor Government withdrew a $75m commitment from the Wakehurst Parkway in the last Federal Budget.

The report reveals for the first time, exactly what $75m will deliver, and what the missing $75m would have delivered.

The report shows planning for the full $150m scope of delivery began in July 2022 and that strategic design and scope as well as preliminary traffic modelling had already been completed, and preliminary cost estimates and prioritised scope were underway when the Commonwealth funds were withdrawn in October 2022.

With the reduced scope of $75m from the NSW Government, the following projects are planned for delivery:

  • Widening Oxford Falls Road to Dreadnought Road and improving intersection safety at both
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options
  • Widening the road to add a second southbound lane from Dreadnought Road to the existing second lane at Trefoil Creek (going up the hill to Frenchs Forest Road)
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options
  • Improving the safety at Elanora Road and Mirrool Street
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options

Also revealed for the first time are the specific projects that will now not be delivered as a result of the lost funding from the Commonwealth, referred to in the report as ‘program opportunity’:

  • Widening the road and adding a turning bay into Middle Creek Reserve to improve safety and reduce collision risk. There have been a number of rear-end accidents coming around the blind corner for vehicles that are stopped trying to turn right into Middle Creek Reserve. These cause closures of the Wakehurst Parkway for up to an hour each time.
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options
  • Improving the intersection at Wakehurst Parkway and Pittwater Road, North Narrabeen, to reduce backlogs for entry into the Wakehurst Parkway
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options
  • Adding a footpath/cycleway from Dreadnought Road to Frenchs Forest Road
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options
  • Improving line marking safety for audible line marking to reduce head-on crashes, cameras to monitor traffic and flooding and improved fauna protection measures
Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options

How did we get here?

Prior to the Federal Election in May 2022, the Liberal Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski obtained a $75m funding commitment from the Commonwealth for the Wakehurst Parkway on the condition that the NSW Government also committed $75m in matched funding. The NSW Government provided that guarantee and the funds were subsequently committed by the Coalition Government in the March 2022 Federal Budget.

Having campaigned on the issue of the Wakehurst Parkway for years, Mr Falinski hedged his bets that the Coalition Government (or himself) may not be re-elected, ensuring the funds were locked into the budget, and were not an election promise. One condition Mr Falinski asked to be placed on the funds was that it not be allocated to the drainage issues for which Northern Beaches Council had previously received $18.1m in grant funding to resolve.

A brawl erupted when the Albanese Government’s first budget last October withdrew the $75m in funding for the Wakehurst Parkway. New Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps laid the blame for the loss of funding at the feet of the NSW Government, causing an uncharacteristic public rebuke from Pittwater MP and NSW Minister for Infrastructure Rob Stokes, who called Dr Scamps’ accusation ‘farcical’.

With the Commonwealth funding withdrawn, the NSW Government said it would maintain the corresponding $75m commitment, despite the original matching amount of $75m no longer being available. The leaked Transport for NSW report was prepared to brief a senior NSW Government Minister as to what could (and could not) be delivered based on the reduced funding.

Leaked Transport for NSW report on the impact of lost funding on Wakehurst Parkway project options

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Transport for NSW

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