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Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.

NWRL tunnel bore - question in Parliament

posted Thursday 13 September 2012
On 6th September, the Leader of the Opposition asked the Minister for Transport what diameter the North West Rail Link tunnels were to be bored at. The matter is important as too narrow a bore will put constraints on subsequent expansion of the network - see http://www.aptnsw.org.au/cgi-bin/item.cgi?20120807Tue202630.txt and http://www.aptnsw.org.au/documents/sydconstrainedrailfuture.html.

The simple answer should have been that tenders are being called to bore at 6.1 metres, too narrow for double-deck trains at 100 km/h which require 7 metres diameter.

We reproduce the discussion in full so that readers can see how the Speaker and the Minister dealt with the matter.


Mr JOHN ROBERTSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Transport. Will the rail tunnels for the proposed north-west shuttle service be large enough to fit double-deck trains?

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: I love getting questions from the Opposition about the North West Rail Link. I know that it has been the off and on policy of the caucus of those opposite since 1998 to support the North West Rail Link. Until this morning it was on; they said they supported it. But this morning the Leader of the Opposition had the hide to call the project a dud. He has kicked in the guts not just the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the north-west today but also the hundreds and thousands of people who will live in the north-west in the next 10 and 20 years. The Opposition has said it does not support public transport for the north-west, it does not support the North West Rail Link.

The SPEAKER: Order! There is too much audible conversation from Government members.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: If the Opposition has officially changed its policy on supporting the North West Rail Link, it needs to come clean today and tell the people of New South Wales. This Government has done more in the past 16 months than the former Government did in the past 16 years. They are embarrassed.

Mr John Robertson: Point of order: Only by your performance. My point of order relates to relevance under Standing Order 129. The question specifically asked about the size of the tunnel. Will it be seven metres in diameter? It is very straightforward.

The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The Minister is being relevant to the question asked.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: The Opposition should be ashamed of its failed record on the North West Rail Link. In response to the member's stupid question, I will address exactly what this Government has done in relation to the North West Rail Link. They cannot handle how much we have done in 16 months compared to their failed record in 16 years. From day one we established a dedicated team for the North West Rail Link. We opened the Community Information Centre, which 4,000 people have either attended in person or contacted by phone.

Dr Andrew McDonald: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 52, tedious repetition. It was a very simple question.

The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: We have already begun physical work on the North West Rail Link within six months of the election. As north-west residents have noticed, geotechnical drilling began in September last year. I take this opportunity to thank the Treasurer for his $3.3 billion funding for that project. I will specifically speak about the process we began in mid-

Ms Linda Burney: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. We have heard this before.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Canterbury will resume her seat. The Minister has the call.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: They do not like to hear the truth. Mid last year we began the multibillion dollar tender process, with expressions of interest received for the tunnel. I was pleased that six international consortia, including 60 companies - the best in Australia and around the world - signalled their intention to bid.

Dr Andrew McDonald: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. When the Minister sought tenders, how big did she ask the tunnels to be?

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Macquarie Fields should not ask questions of the Chair.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: When it comes to the size of tunnels and the type of rolling stock, I will listen to the experts around Australia and the world, not to that lot. Why on earth would I listen to them?



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