NSW Premier Chris Minns appears to have scuttled hopes the Mona Vale Road upgrade may proceed.

Premier Minns made the comments to ABC Radio Sydney yesterday, following a horror spell on Northern Beaches roads. In addition to a fatal collision at Bayview on Saturday morning (07 October), a collision between a garbage truck and two cars on Monday afternoon (09 October) at Mona Vale Road, Ingleside, sent two people to hospital in serious condition and closed the road for hours, causing traffic chaos across a wide area.

NSW Premier Chris Minns addresses NSW Parliament

Premier Minns (image above) was speaking with ABC Radio Sydney host Sarah Macdonald yesterday morning (Tuesday, 10 October), when a Northern Beaches listener called in with a question about the ‘halfway built’ Mona Vale Road project.

His response to the question appears to indicate the project has indeed been cancelled, saying he had ‘sympathy’ for the Northern Beaches but other areas were a higher priority.

“I’m very sympathetic to the Northern Beaches. It doesn’t have the public transport links that the North West and the inner north part of Sydney does.

“I understand particularly in relation to the Northern Beaches Tunnel, which was a $10b project as well as some of the ancillary works around that have been discontinued. The main reason for that is we’ve got a massive budget deficit in NSW.

“We’ve had to make difficult decisions about where to prioritise that money. That money has been directed to public transport projects, so that we can get a greater number of people circulating through the city without relying on the road network,” said Premier Minns.

Mona Vale Road

The Premier pushed back on a challenge by host Sarah Macdonald that the cancellation of the tunnel made the widening of Mona Vale Road necessary.

“No, I don’t believe so. There is a case for road upgrades right across Sydney, it’s all about severity. We are applying a needs based approach to infrastructure spending, not on a marginal seats or Labor electorates approach. Obviously those communities that desperately need the funds is where we’re investing,” said Premier Minns.

Rory Amon speaking in NSW Parliament

The apparent confirmation from the Premier that the Mona Vale Road West project has been cancelled drew an immediate condemnation from Pittwater MP Rory Amon.

“The Premier’s comments are a sad reflection on his Government’s priorities. The Premier was either poorly briefed or doesn’t care, failing to even reference the recent accidents on Mona Vale Road.

“The Government has previously said they were only ‘deferring’ the Mona Vale Road West upgrade. But yesterday, the Premier had the audacity to say the project was not needed at all. If multiple near-death accidents in a few days does not qualify Mona Vale Road West as a ‘needs based’ project, I don’t know what does,” said Mr Amon.

Rory Amon speaking in NSW Parliament

“On Monday, Mona Vale Road was closed for hours following two serious crashes. Thankfully, there were no deaths, but injuries were serious and emergency services responded. In the last few days, we have now had three serious accidents with two in one day, and at least ten this year alone. The most serious of these accidents have occurred on the section of Mona Vale Road where the upgrade has been canned by the Minns’ Government.

“This road upgrade is about saving lives, and helping our community and those who use Mona Vale Road spend more time with their children, families, friends and loved ones. The longer the Government delays this vital project, the worse off our community is — in every sense. I am calling on the Government to provide a guarantee on when this vital project will be funded,” said Mr Amon.

Mona Vale Road, Ingleside, near Kimbriki Road

Mr Amon said a petition for the widening of Mona Vale Road West to proceed has struck a nerve, with over 1,000 new signatures in the last 24 hours, and more than 3,000 signatures overall.

Premier Minns appears to have taken an interest in the Northern Beaches, and the Member for Pittwater in particular. In addition to cancelling the Beaches Link Tunnel and the halt to the upgrade for Mona Vale Road, Premier Minns last month launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Amon in the NSW Parliament, while foreshadowing increased housing development for the Northern Beaches.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, NSW Parliament

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