Labor’s promise of $13m to fix flooding problems on Wakehurst Parkway has won backing from Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps.

NSW Shadow Minister for Roads John Graham (image below, left) visited the Wakehurst Parkway yesterday (Monday, 20 March) to announce the $13m election commitment with Labor candidates for Wakehurst Sue Wright and Pittwater Jeffrey Quinn.

Labor's John Graham, Sue Wright and Jeffrey Quinn

Mr Graham said the money was additional to that already provided to the Northern Beaches Council, which has already been granted in excess of $18m to reduce flooding closures of the road. Northern Beaches Council has come under some criticism for not advancing the project to remediate flooding issues despite having sufficient funding to do so.

“The local roads that people use every day to go to medical appointments, to work or to take their kids to sports have been neglected under a government obsessed with toll roads.

“NSW Labor is committed to ending the traffic nightmare for residents using the Wakehurst Parkway,” said Mr Graham.

Sue Wright, Labor candidate for Wakehurst

Labor candidate for Wakehurst Sue Wright says the additional $13m in funding will allow the council work to be completed more rapidly and to allow for any potential changes in the scope of the project given the persistent flooding issues that have occurred.

“For years, the local Liberal MPs have promised to fix the three flood prone areas on the Wakehurst Parkway. It still floods regularly and has to be closed, denying residents and emergency vehicles direct access to our Northern Beaches Hospital.

“Residents have identified this as one of their key priorities, and I’m delighted that after years of advocacy we will finally be able to take this important step to improve traffic flows and safety in our area,” said Ms Wright.

Ms Wright also revealed yesterday that she had written to the Federal Government asking that the $75m withdrawn by Labor in the last federal budget be restored for the purpose of flood proofing three locations, near Dreadnought Road, ‘the bends’ and at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation.

Jeffrey Quinn, Labor candidate for Pittwater

Labor candidate for Pittwater Jeffrey Quinn said the problem had been neglected in 12 years of a Liberal Government and the people have waited long enough for a state government that takes the issue seriously.

“After 50 years of Liberal representation, Pittwater will finally get this much-needed upgrade from a NSW Labor government that actually listens to us.

“The people of Pittwater get cut off so often by flooding, from work and school and, even more importantly, from essential medical services. I’m thrilled a Minns Labor Government will fast track this flood mitigation,” said Mr Quinn.

Member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps

Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps this morning (Tuesday, 21 March) welcomed the election commitment from Labor.

“I welcome NSW Labor’s election commitment to provide $13m in funding to the Northern Beaches Council for flood mitigation works on the Wakehurst Parkway.

“I met with Shadow Roads Minister John Graham on Wednesday, 25 January, to brief him on the issues facing the Wakehurst Parkway and to discuss the shortfall in funding for flood mitigation works, so it’s incredibly pleasing the NSW Labor Party has listened to the community’s concerns and promised to provide this funding.

“Council can and should now prioritise these works, which will reduce flooding on the Parkway to just one to two times every two years, in the event Labor wins office on March 25.

“I have been working hard behind the scenes over the past several months to ensure every relevant minister both at the state and federal level, Liberal and Labor, and every relevant infrastructure body was well aware of the issues facing the Wakehurst Parkway and the people of Mackellar’s anger at the decades long failure to act on them.

“I met with the Federal Infrastructure Minister [Catherine King] and her staff multiple times to advocate strongly for the restoration of federal funding to the Wakehurst Parkway as well as meeting with current NSW Roads Minister Natalie Ward, the Shadow NSW Roads Minister John Graham, The Northern Beaches Council, Infrastructure NSW, and Infrastructure Australia,” said Dr Scamps.

Member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps

“I also welcome and note NSW Labor’s commitment to work with the Federal Labor Government to reinstate federal funding for the Wakehurst Parkway – this funding should be fast tracked and complement the $75m the NSW Government has committed to safety upgrades on the road.

“In my meeting with the current NSW Roads Minister Natalie Ward, I requested the business case for this additional funding, which I am yet to receive. However upon receipt of this business case, I will continue my strong representations to the Albanese Government for this funding.

“NSW Labor’s announcement once again shows why it’s so important that our community has strong independent voices advocating on the issues that matter most. Independent candidates at the NSW election including Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan in Wakehurst, and Jacqui Scruby in Pittwater, have made the Wakehurst Parkway an election issue, and have helped to bring Labor to the table on this.

“In addition, as an Independent MP I have been able to work constructively with all levels of government and all parties to help advocate for this funding – so it’s an incredibly pleasing outcome,” said Dr Scamps.

Dr Scamps has previously referred to Northern Beaches Council not having sufficient funding to address flooding issues. In response to a similar claim from Dr Scamps via Twitter on 30 January 2023, Northern Beaches Council provided a briefing to the Northern Beaches Advocate on the status of the Wakehurst Parkway flood mitigation project.

Council confirmed that the initial scope of works was fully funded by the NSW Government, but that there were possible changes in scope as a result of new works made possible through the additional $75m commitment from the NSW Government.

For example, road widening near Dreadnought Road, Oxford Falls, made possible by the $75m state funding commitment could change the length of culverts planned to prevent flooding at that location. Council staff insisted that while additional funds could be used to extend the scope of works, the original flood mitigation works were fully funded by the existing grant funding which was already allocated.

Dr Scamps was embroiled in a dispute with the NSW Government following Labor’s decision to rescind $75m in federal funding that had been committed under the former Liberal government.

A recently leaked Transport for NSW report showed specific projects at Wakehurst Parkway that can no longer be delivered until the $75m in federal funding is restored.

The NSW Election is on Saturday, 25 March.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, NSW Labor

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