Thursday, 9 March 2023
Paterson Electorate: Roads
Meryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source
One of the most important things anyone can do is deliver on their commitments. At the last election, I committed to my community that an Albanese Labor government would work to end the chaos on the M1 at Raymond Terrace and deliver the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace.
One of the biggest frustrations in my community—and it's often referred to as the last choke point on the Pacific Highway, or the M1, as we now know it, between Sydney and Brisbane—is the Hexham Crossing. Coming south it's an old bridge and going north it's a flyover that no longer serves the volume of traffic that it sees. Many locals say it should have been done 10 years ago. Well, it wasn't, but the Albanese government are delivering on our commitment to do it, and we are doing it now. True to our word, our federal government is delivering on the commitment, contributing $1.68 billion of the $2.1 billion project. The New South Wales government will invest $420 million.
Since the election in 2016, when I first ran for parliament, I've campaigned fearlessly for this piece of road. I welcome this work, and I really want to say thank you to everyone in our community who has joined me and the Labor Party on the hunt to get the road fixed. I also want to thank the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister Catherine King, for supporting the project and committing to me last year that we would fast-track the M1 at Hexham. Well, we've done that. We are delivering on that important commitment. Minister King understands the importance of delivering the Hunter region's biggest-ever infrastructure project. I want to thank her and her team for working so hard, alongside me and my community, to see this project become a reality.
Sadly, the New South Wales Liberals have been complacent on this project in the past, not progressing it as quickly as they should have, but at least we've got them moving now. In December last year, with the New South Wales government, we announced John Holland Gamuda Australia Joint Venture as the contractor for the southern section of the project, covering the 10 kilometres extending from Black Hill to Tomago, and Seymour Whyte Constructions to deliver the northern section, completing the five-kilometre section that will bypass Heatherbrae. Once complete, the extension will create more safe and efficient journeys, bypassing five sets of traffic lights and removing about 25,000 vehicles daily from key congestion and merging points between Newcastle and Maitland.
This exciting project—and it really is worth having a look at on the website—will deliver a 15-kilometre extension to the M1 Pacific Motorway from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace, including a 2.6-kilometre bridge over the New England Highway and the Hunter River. It will be a magnificent stretch of road and it's going to save so much time not only for our locals, who are just trying to commute between Maitland and Newcastle, but for people who are trying to drive between Sydney and Brisbane: truck drivers, transport drivers and other people, who are all sick of being stuck at this one point in the road. In fact, I had someone from Sydney, when I told them where my electorate was, say to me: 'When are they going to fix that Hexham stretch? It's dreadful. I'm sick of being stuck there. Every time we try to go north we get stuck at Hexham.' It is the last choke point, and the Albanese Labor government is doing something about it.
Also, the surrounding network is going to be upgraded. That includes the Hexham Straight Widening project, which will widen around six kilometres of the Pacific Highway's Maitland Road section to three lanes in each direction between the Newcastle Inner-City Bypass at Sandgate and the New England Highway at the Hexham Bridge.
I'm really proud to be delivering on this Albanese Labor government commitment to delivering a safer, more practical, faster road network not only for people trying to get north and south but also for our local community, who are just trying to get to work, get their kids to school or get to our beautiful Port Stephens or vineyards areas. Bring on the M1 extension to Raymond Terrace!
House adjourned a t 17:00