Thursday, 16 August 2007
Greenway Electorate: Roads
I rise to speak about a matter of great importance in my electorate: Richmond Road. Richmond Road has been the scene of many accidents, including fatalities, and it has been a source of contention for many years. Just recently we heard of another unnecessary death when an elderly lady trying to make a right-hand turn was hit from behind and pushed head-on into a truck.
Having lived and worked in the Hawkesbury and Western Sydney, I frequently use this road and have also had experiences and near misses. How can a road which is such a major thoroughfare between Blacktown and Richmond have been neglected for so long? We hear the state members for Riverstone and Londonderry saying that they are spending money on Richmond Road. The money they are spending is on one intersection, so what can we do with the other 27 kilometres? Richmond Road-Blacktown Road is approximately 34 kilometres in length. Seven kilometres of this is from Blacktown and is at least dual carriageway. The remaining 27 kilometres from the M7 overpass to Richmond is a single lane, a goat track. It is unacceptable.
The New South Wales Labor government treats the people of Western Sydney and the Hawkesbury like second-class citizens and expects them to drive along a road you would never see in other parts of Sydney. Unfortunately, Western Sydney is neglected by the New South Wales Labor government. You just have to look at Richmond Road, Camden Valley Way and Northern Road. All of them are like goat tracks, single lane for most of the way. All of these roads are close to, if not part of, the state Labor government’s plan for south-west and north-west sector developments, which will see hundreds of thousands of people move into these areas. Maybe they are hoping the developers, or indeed the landholders, will pay for the upgrades. If Richmond Road were located in the middle of Sydney, or maybe in a marginal state Labor seat, I am quite sure that the New South Wales Labor government would have committed to upgrading it fully by now.
Eric Roozendaal in February said that there is no timetable to convert the road at present. Tell that to the people who have lost a mother, a father, a brother, an uncle, a sister or a friend. I want to congratulate the Hawkesbury City Council on tackling the issue head-on and erecting signs along Richmond Road demanding that it be upgraded now. I would like to ask the New South Wales Labor government why the RTA then came along and pulled them down. Was it because the truth hurts? Was it because the state Labor government does not like being reminded that, yet again, they have let the people of Western Sydney and the Hawkesbury down?
Richmond Road cannot remain in its current state. You will hear the local state Labor members saying that the upgrading of one intersection is a start. A start is not good enough. There are several other intersections where there have been facilities: where St Marys Road meets Richmond Road and at the Garfield Road intersection. The intersection at Grange Road, which I come out of quite frequently, has also seen a number of near misses and fatalities. How many more people have to die or be seriously injured before Richmond Road is upgraded?
Over the years, the New South Wales government has moved the cost burden of infrastructure for new estates off itself and onto new home buyers through taxes. Surely a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars the state government has saved by slugging new home buyers could be set aside and invested in the upgrade of Richmond Road. It needs to be an upgraded dual carriageway. I have spoken to councillors, local residents and businesspeople who support a petition I have been asking people to sign demanding that the New South Wales Labor government upgrade this road. I have asked how state Labor members and the state Labor government—who claim to represent us, the people of Western Sydney and the people of the Hawkesbury—can sit on their hands day after day and allow this road to remain in its present state.
I call on the New South Wales Labor government to stop treating the people of Western Sydney and the Hawkesbury like second-class citizens and commit to upgrading the remaining 27 kilometres of the road before another life is lost. People in the area and the region are tired of travelling along Richmond Road in its current state. I am demanding that the New South Wales Labor government commit to a date when they will undertake a review of the road and then commit to fully upgrading this road to a dual carriageway.