Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Questions without Notice
Hughes Electorate: Infrastructure
My constituency question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. The Enfield intermodal, once described as a test case for the viability of an intermodal at Moorebank, is now years overdue, with the operator pulling out. With competitors planning intracity intermodals in superior locations, including Chullora, Villawood and St Marys, is there not a grave risk that the government investment in a proposed intermodal at Moorebank is destined to be a white elephant?
I thank the honourable member for his question. He has been a strong advocate for his community and has spoken out on numerous occasions about community issues associated with the construction of the Moorebank terminal, in particular issues like noise and traffic. But I can assure the honourable member that I am confident that this is a sound project.
It is a project that has been supported by both sides of politics. Indeed, the initial agreement to build this terminal was actually signed by John Anderson and Craig Knowles, so it goes back a very long time. There have been a number of iterations of the proposal. What has happened now, under this government, is that our intermodal terminal company has come to an agreement with SIMTA with a view to jointly building an intermodal terminal on their land and on the Defence land that adjoins it. This will be a very substantial facility. It will be connected to Port Botany by rail, and connected to the interstate rail network so that it can be a real distribution point and a very important hub for business investment in Sydney.
It is estimated that there will be about 1,300 jobs involved in the construction and over 7,000 jobs once the facility is in place. The planning for the proposal does involve careful consideration of environmental issues and dealing with the concerns of the community. It will also look at how to best move freight in and out of this facility and address the concerns that the local community has. Because of the way in which we put together this deal, the commitment and involvement of the Australian taxpayers has been substantially reduced and we are confident that it will return good rewards as a business proposition to the Australian government, but, most importantly, that it will be a key hub for the creation of jobs in the member's electorate and in surrounding areas of Sydney.
I think this is an innovative project. It is being funded in an innovative way. It is a good example of cooperation between the private sector and the public sector and there is a real awareness of the importance of making sure that this major new facility is also a good local citizen—that they work with their community to make sure that the jobs that are created are not at the cost of the lifestyle of the people who live in that region.