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The Transport Plan All Endorse : Carr, 2005.

March 7, 2011

On ABC news this afternoon transport planner Michelle Zeibots from the University of Technology, is quoted saying former Premier Bob Carr “got it right when he announced in 2005 the party would focus on rail lines to the north and south and build a second harbor crossing.”

New heavy rail lines in the north and south west : that is the policy, according to the report, the Coalition itself is running on in this election. So too is the ALP, with the addition of the Parramatta to Epping rail link now available with Federal infrastructure funding.

In my address to my last State ALP conference in June 2005 I pointed to an infrastructure plan of $35 billion over four years that was more than the Commonwealth’s, double New Zealand’s and bigger than Victoria’s, South Australia’s, Tasmania’s and the territories combined.

It included a south-west line from Leppington to Glenfield and a north-west line from Rouse Hill to Epping.

The Herald, which had campaigned keenly on Sydney rail, editorialised in support: “Carr’s winning role as son of Bradfield.” The editorial endorsed the plan: “It is big, bold and on timetable. By getting in now the government is on the front foot.” It described the plan to expedite the rail lines to Sydney’s new suburbs in the south-west as “a massive shift in policy no government in the past half-century could match.”

My colleagues could have stuck to it. That would have avoided the diversion to a Metro. The Metro ranks as one of the four big reasons Labor is staring at a catastrophic defeat, as I pointed out below. (See my post on November 1 2010). The Premier was right to abandon it and refocus on the two new western heavy rail links.

Now if the Coalition wins Labor’s transport plan of 2005 will be that of the government. Yet Barry O’Farrell needs to answer the question : if there is Federal money for Parramatta to Epping why not seize it ?

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