House debates

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Constituency Statements

Warringah Electorate: Northern Beaches Tunnel

4:15 pm

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It doesn't matter what you are in this place or how far you might rise, we are all local members first and foremost, and our constituencies expect us to deliver. They want us to do the right thing by them. I've often said that my constituency of Warringah is the best place in the world to live—until, of course, you want to go somewhere else. That's when you get stuck in some of the world's longest parking lots.

Well, I'm pleased to say that the Northern Beaches tunnel looks like it might at last finally be happening, thanks to the convergence of a good state Liberal government with a good federal Liberal government. The state Liberal government has put several hundreds of millions of dollars into property acquisitions, into preliminary works, into planning and into designing, and it's only been possible because of the funding partnerships that the federal Liberal government has had with the state. These include the $2 billion plus for WestConnex, the half a billion dollars plus for NorthConnex and of course the Asset Recycling Fund, which was one of the features of the 2014 budget.

But I've got to say that the tunnel will only go ahead if we keep Liberal governments, because the Labor Party wants to cancel it. The tunnel will only go ahead if it has a champion. And I'm pleased to note that the only federal candidate so far declared in Warringah who is 120 per cent behind the tunnel is me.

This tunnel will cut out 17 sets of traffic lights between Manly Vale and the city alone. It will reduce travel times from Manly Vale to the city by about 10 minutes, and then of course, connecting on with the second harbour crossing, it will do a lot more good for the people of the Northern Beaches and also for people living in other parts of Sydney. It will also enable Military and Spit roads to go back to being suburban thoroughfares. It will restore Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay to their residents.

I don't say that the design can't be tweaked and improved. But no-one should let any small objections imperil this great project. If there are any issues, let's improve the tunnel design, not try to block the whole project, because, if we block the project, the whole area will choke on its own traffic. This is the one thing that could permanently improve the lives of everyone on the Northern Beaches. It can give us our lives back, and I am absolutely determined to make it happen.