Concerns that Labor is pulling funding from the Wakehurst Parkway have been allayed.

A Ministerial response to Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan’s first question to the NSW Parliament today caused some confusion about whether the NSW Government was going to honour the full $75m commitment of the previous Liberal Government.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen answered a question from Mr Regan about whether the government would honour its pre-election commitment of an additional $13m to help resolve flooding problems on the Wakehurst Parkway.

Minister Haylen, representing Minister for Roads John Graham (who sits in the upper house) confirmed the $13m commitment would be kept, in addition to the $18m already given to Northern Beaches Council.

Rory Amon in NSW Parliament

Her choice of words had Member for Pittwater Rory Amon (image above) questioning whether the Government was short-changing the Northern Beaches.

“Prior to the election, the Labor Government had committed $75m already funded by the then Liberal Government, plus an additional $13m on top of the $18.1m already given to Northern Beaches Council. These amounts total $106.1m. I am calling on Labor to confirm that the exact funding to the Wakehurst Parkway will be:

  • $18.1m (already provided to Council)
  • $13m (committed by the Labor Government)
  • $75m (budgeted by the former Liberal Government)

“The advice provided by the Minister today suggests a $31m cut in funding. Anything less than a commitment to the above figures will be a severe loss to our community for funding the we desperately need,” said Mr Amon.

In response to Mr Amon’s concern, a spokesperson for NSW Roads Minister John Graham confirmed the total amount remained at $106.1m, and no reduction in funding had taken place. The spokesperson said Mr Amon had not taken Minister Haylen’s response in its entirety.

Michael Regan in NSW Parliament

Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan (image above) said he had also confirmed there had been no reduction in funding and was pleased to have the additional $13m committed by the Minns Government.

“In question time today, I asked Minister Haylen, representing Roads Minister John Graham, to confirm that after years of neglect, these urgent upgrades would be funded. In answering, she confirmed the additional $13m would be provided to Council to complete the flood mitigation works.

“In addition, the $75m dollars for safety and capacity improvements has also been confirmed. The Minister said in question time, that she will be consulting closely with us (our community) given the nature of these works will cause some necessary disruption.

“But as we know, these upgrades are well overdue. After so many decades of neglect from both sides, we finally have a government willing to listen and to act. This is a major coup for Wakehurst voters, and will benefit all on the Beaches including visitors.

“I want to acknowledge the Minns State Government for this commitment and for not taking us for granted. I went to the election with a promise to hold this government to account and work with them on smart solutions. So a big thank you to the government for listening and acting, working with myself and our community. And a thank you to Northern Beaches Council for their commitments and for working with the Government to ensure this can be delivered quickly and effectively. What a win for the community,” said Mr Regan.

The mace of the NSW Parliament

Full transcript of Mr Regan’s question and Minister Haylen’s response:

Mr MICHAEL REGAN (Wakehurst): My question is directed to the Minister for Transport, representing the Minister for Roads. For too long, desperately needed upgrades to the Wakehurst Parkway have been neglected by successive governments. Will the new Government deliver its pre-election commitment of $13m for the flood mitigation works, as well as the previous budget allocation of $75m for the Wakehurst Parkway, so that the people of the Northern Beaches who rely on this crucial arterial road can have it fixed once and for all?

Ms JO HAYLEN (Minister for Transport): I thank the member for Wakehurst for the question and congratulate him on his emphatic victory on 25 March. I welcome our shared interest in things like cricket and also in better public transport services and safer, reliable roads. As the member well knows, and as his community knows, Wakehurst Parkway is one of the most important roads in the Northern Beaches. It passes through Oxford Falls, Narrabeen and Frenchs Forest to North Balgowlah. It is a critical thoroughfare but it is also surrounded by places of important cultural heritage and environmental significance, so the Government needs to get this right.

The parkway north of Warringah Road, as the member for Wakehurst and locals know, is prone to flooding. In fact it floods and is closed six to seven times a year on average. Consequently I am pleased to confirm to the member and to the House that the Minns Labor Government has committed $13m to fast-track work on flood mitigation measures along the Wakehurst Parkway. This funding is in addition to the $18.1m already provided to the Northern Beaches Council to improve flood mitigation on Wakehurst Parkway.

The member will also be glad to know that the NSW Government is investing $75m in total to improve safety and capacity on the parkway. The proposed improvements to the road will help to reduce accidents. They will improve access to the Northern Beaches Hospital — something that is very important for the member’s community. Ultimately, it will save commuters time. The Government wants to make sure it is dealing with the environmental impacts. It will improve efficiency, safety and active transport along the corridor. It is also using technology better, particularly when it comes to flooding incidents. Along the way, the Government wants to ensure that it provides better access to public transport.

The Government is carrying out widening of Dreadnought Road to the Oxford Falls Road intersection, with an additional southbound lane from Dreadnought Road to Trefoil Creek, and improvements at Elanora Road at Elanora Heights and Mirrool Street at North Narrabeen. The investigations and works will ensure that this Government gets this right, and the community will be informed along the way. Ultimately, it will improve road safety, network efficiency, capacity for future traffic flow, public transport and active transport opportunities. While a lot of the work will be carried out to minimise traffic impacts, there will be some disruptions along the way, so I welcome the member’s enthusiasm for these works. The Government will work with the member and his community to minimise the impact on commuters across the Northern Beaches.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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