Monday, 7 December 2020
Whitlam Electorate: Roads
Whenever I hold my community consultations in Dapto, there is nothing more like throwing a cracker into a henhouse than mentioning the freeway on and off ramps. Last month I spoke to a family who'd moved to Dapto from Lake Heights to be closer to the father's workplace at Albion Park. They live a lot closer to Albion Park now—in fact, seven kilometres closer—but it actually takes them longer to make the simple, short trip to work than it did when they lived seven kilometres up the road. The reason for this is that coalition governments, state and federal, will not dedicate a cent to these on and off ramps where they are needed. It's ridiculous. Dapto is one of the areas of highest growth—in fact, I think it's the highest growth area—in New South Wales outside of Sydney. There are enormous housing developments going into Dapto, particularly on the western side of the freeway, but the government is not putting the money into the infrastructure which is going to make the place liveable for the young families moving into this area. It's absolutely ridiculous.
When the Wran Labor government first connected Dapto to the Princes Highway, or the M1 as it is now known, it initially connected Kanahooka Road in 1978, Fowlers Road in 1981 and Yallah Road in 1986. It was in this period that the people of Dapto began the campaign for flood-free access to west Dapto, a campaign that, with the support of federal and state governments, the city council finally realised earlier this year with the opening of the Fowlers Road bridge. I was pleased to campaign alongside the Wollongong City Council to get $10 million out of the federal government for that project.
We must turn our attention to dealing with the south-facing ramps from Dapto onto the Princes Highway. It is going to be a disaster if the ramps aren't built with all of the new housing developments in West Dapto. The government had $84 billion worth of deficit last financial year and the deficit will head north of $110 billion this financial year, and not one cent is spent on a new project of this sort between Engadine McDonald's and the Victorian border. It's time the federal government and the state government worked together to get this vital infrastructure built. I'll be working hand-in-hand with the locals, the local council and my state colleagues to ensure that we can get these much needed south-facing ramps built onto the Princes Highway so that the people of Dapto and the new suburbs in Dapto aren't caught in endless traffic jams trying to get to work. (Time expired)