Work to halt on the Mona Vale Road upgrade after funding is pulled from the NSW Budget.

The decision by the NSW Government to ‘defer’ work on the western stage of the Mona Vale Road upgrade has been labelled a ‘budget betrayal’, with $340m set aside in last year’s budget to complete the works now missing from the first budget of the Minns Government.

The Mona Vale Road upgrade project was split into two stages, East and West, with the total cost of upgrading both sections in excess of $600m. Works on the eastern stage are well advanced, with completion set for this year.

Mona Vale Road

Concerns about the commitment to the western stage of the upgrade were raised last month by Pittwater MP Rory Amon, when it was confirmed the project was ‘under review’ by Transport for NSW (TfNSW).

“The review will identify projects and programs that can proceed to investment and delivery and those that can be delayed, re-sequenced, re-scoped or re-prioritised,” said a TfNSW spokesperson at the time.

Those fears were realised in the NSW Parliament today (Tuesday, 19 September), when Treasurer Daniel Mookhey presented the first budget of the Minns Government. A look at the 2023-24 NSW Budget Map shows distinctly fewer projects on the Northern Beaches.

Rory Amon in NSW Parliament

Pittwater MP Rory Amon (image above) reacted angrily to the news, accusing the Minns Government of playing ‘postcode politics’.

“This Budget rips almost $430m from essential projects committed to and commenced by the former Liberal Government. It does not include any new investment in Pittwater.

“The Chris Minns-led Labor Government promised to govern for our whole State, but this Budget sees funding allocated by postcode with preference going to electorates held or winnable by Labor.

“This Budget cancels the vital $340m Mona Vale Road West Widening project, with the capital funding wiped. This will put lives at risk,” said Mr Amon.

A review of the Budget map, and of line items buried deep inside the Budget papers, reveals the backflip. Only $348k of funding is allocated for the Mona Vale Road West project in 2023-24, which given works undertaken since July, is probably already spent. Works will likely halt in the near future, if not immediately.

2023 NSW Budget Paper No.3 Page 4-59

A spokesperson for NSW Roads Minister John Graham denied the Mona Vale Road West upgrade was cancelled, saying instead that it would be ‘deferred’ for two years.

“Mona Vale Road West has been deferred for two years. The final business case has been completed. This means the project is shovel ready for when a future investment decision is made,” said the spokesperson for Minister Graham.

Similar language was used to describe the Beaches Link Tunnel project, which was deferred before being cancelled. The main difference, according to a former government minister, is the tunnel had never been fully funded, whereas Mona Vale Road West had been.

Labor’s previous commitment of $88m for upgrades to the Wakehurst Parkway appears to have survived the Budget cuts however. Despite not showing a forward allocation in the Budget papers, and less than $9m of funding allocated in the Budget, the spokesperson for Minister Graham confirmed the funding was still available beyond the next financial year. They said further announcements on the Wakehurst Parkway would be forthcoming soon.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Luke Gavahan

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