Hills Transport Working Group
NSW Political Parties Policy report 2011
Policy at a glance â€“ where to the parties stand?
Foreword In the lead up to the 2011 NSW State Election, the Hills Transport Working Group has worked to engage with Council Members, NSW Local Members, State Government and Opposition Ministers, the NSW Minister for Transport, Greens Spokesperson for Transport and the Shadow Minister for Transport to “cut through the spin”. Our ultimate goal is to provide real plain-English information about the policies of the major parities contesting the 2011 NSW State Election. The Working Group would like to thank Cate Faehrmann, Greens Spokesperson for Transport, for her, her office and party’s engagement with the Working Group. The Working Group would also like to thank the Hon John Roberston’s staff for their assistance in completing our survey. Although the Working Group has made many attempts to engage with the Liberal Party Leader and Shadow Minister for Transport, they have time and time again refused to engage in any official capacity. The Hills Transport Working Group has attempted over 20 times to engage through letters, emails, telephone calls, social media and face-to-face conversations throughout the last three months. For this reason, the Working Group has sought to obtain information from the Liberal Party through other means to complete this report in an attempt to present as balanced a view as possible. These include: • Press releases; • Liberal Party website(s); • Newspaper(s); • Twitter and Facebook; • Conversations with members of the Liberal Party; and • Posing questions during Q&A sessions where the Shadow Transport Minister was taking questions. The Hills Transport Working Group hopes that the difficulty we have had in obtaining information from the Liberal Party and their refusal to engage with the community means that there may be some gaps. We sincerely hope that should Mr O’Farrell and his party win government on March 26 that this lack of engagement with Hills residents to date is not a sign of things to come. For further information about the Hills Transport Working Group, please visit http://www.myhillstransport.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hills Transport: Where do the parties stand? Not sure what each party's North Western Sydney transport plans are? You're not alone! The Hills Transport Working Group wrote to the major parties calling on them to make information available. The scorecard below is based on their responses, information gathered by questions asked Hills Transport Working Group attending political events
North West Rail Link
Headline start date
Timeline for finish
Commited to the North West Rail Link Route and stops announced
Funding/Ownership model defined Buses Plans to extend T-way (equivalent) system MetroBus (or equivalent) expansion strategy Strategy to improve commuter and local bus Cycling Plans to expand cycleways Document existing cycleways Other / Integrated transport Strategy to deliver electronic ticketing Integrated transport strategy covering all modes Notes
* The route and stops: At the time of publication, no policy information was available in regards to the Liberal Party position, although anecdotal evidence suggest they support the 2008 proposal. The Greens are broadly in support of the 2008 proposed route. ** Finish date: This date is based on Gladys Berejiklian verbally advising "less than 10 years" for delivery of the North West Rail Link † Integrated Transport: Although all parties have some form of "integrated transport" policy, none specifically address a sustainable modal split between all available transport types. Authorised by James Fiander, Hills Transport Working Group, PO Box 6099 Rouse Hill Town Centre, NSW, 2155
Does your party accept the need for the North West Rail Link from Epping to Rouse Hill? If not, why not?
Labor response “Will build the North West Rail Link as part of the Metropolitan Transport Plan” Source: Survey response Greens response “Yes” Source: Survey response Liberal information “The NSW Liberals & Nationals will build the North West Rail Link, starting work in our first term” Source: http://www.nsw.liberal.org.au/policies/transport-and-roads/south-west-and-north-westrail-links.html - Retrieved at 15 March 2011.
Has your party adopted a preferred route for the link, including station locations? Please reference/append
Labor response “The route was outlined in a submission to Infrastructure Australia and is consistent with the 2008 concept approval”. Source: Survey response. Greens response Proposed that a new “integrated transport planning agency” be formed to make the decision on route and station placement to be “free from political motivation and influence”; The Greens are also broadly in support of the current proposed route. Source: Survey response. Liberal information No factual information is available on this subject; however, the Hills Transport Working Group has managed to gather anecdotal evidence to support our assumption that the Liberal Party supports the route proposed in 2008 for the NWRL: • When questioned at two recent events, Gladys Berejiklian (Liberal Party Election Spokesperson and Shadow Minister for Transport)did not dispute that Castle Hill and Rouse Hill Town Centre were to be a destinations on the NWRL; • Barry O’Farrell (Opposition Leader) advised two working group members in November 2010 on Twitter that he would “probably” stick to the existing route proposal; and • Ray Williams, the Member for Hawkesbury, has referenced Rouse Hill Town Centre as the destination of the North West Rail Link in several discussions with the Hills Transport Working Group along with the route proposed in 2008. Source: Conversations between Liberal Party politicians & the Hills Transport Working Group
What is your timetable for construction of the North West Rail Link (to the nearest year): • Commencement of construction – • Stage 1 (Epping to Castle Hill) completion – • Stage 2 (Castle Hill to Rouse Hill) completion -
Labor response “The project to build the North West Rail Link will begin in 2017” Source: Survey response. The Labor party also referred the working group to the Metropolitan Transport Plan for information about stages and completion dates. The plan document suggests that by 2024, the NWRL will “provide 18.7 million passenger journeys per year” – which the working group have assumed to mean the line will be completed by this date. Source: http://www.nsw.gov.au/metropolitantransportplan Greens response “For too long the people of NW Sydney have been promised a rail link, only to have it taken away from them time and again. Now, the residents have a proposal for a rail link, but as it stands now, won’t see this come to fruition for at least a decade. This isn’t good enough. The Greens NSW support the construction of the NW Rail Link as a priority and will urge the incoming government to do everything within its power to fast track the construction of the project.” The Greens have advised they will work with the government of the next NSW Parliament to deliver stage 1 of this project by 2014 with final completion by 2016. Source: Survey response Liberal information The Liberal party have been approached by the Hills Transport Working Group about committing to a timeline in writing several times, however each time they have refused. The Working Group asked Gladys Berejiklian during a Q&A section of a her presentation to the Urban Transport World Conference “how will you alleviate transport congestion for residents of North Western Sydney in the interim 10-15 years until the North West Rail Link is delivered to Rouse Hill” to which she replied “I dispute that it will take 10 years to deliver the North West Rail Link...” A follow up question was asked of her at the Sydney Transport Forum hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday 10 March “Given your previous comment that it will not take 10 years to deliver the North West Rail Link, will the North West Rail Link be finished before 2021 and what year will the first trains arrive in Rouse Hill?” to which she replied “Barry and I have both committed to start construction of the North West Rail Link within our first term and current estimates say that construction should take 6 years to complete”. The Working Group has taken this to mean the Liberal Party are committing to deliver the North West Rail Link before 2021 in its entirety. Sources: Several conversations between Liberal Party politicians and two questions asked of the Shadow Transport Minister, publicly.
Do you have any projected costing for the North West Rail Link? • If yes, what is the headline figure? • If yes, how is this cost broken down? (please append)
Labor response The Labor party have completed a full cost estimate of the NWRL with a headline figure of $6.7 billion for the rail line itself and a further $800 million for the duplication of tracks between Chatswood and St Leonards which would be completed as part of the NWRL project bringing a total of $7.5 billion. Source: Survey response. Greens response The Greens have acknowledged the cost estimate completed by the Government and have noted the significantly higher cost than comparable projects internationally. The Greens will work in the next parliament to make the “method by which rail projects are costed more transparent”. Source: Survey response Liberal information The Liberal party have noted the higher than expected estimate cost for the current proposal; however, they have stopped short of suggesting that it could be done cheaper and have provided no details in their policy on their own cost estimate. Source: Liberal NSW website
How will you fund the North West Rail Link? • Public funds, cut from other programs in the budget (please give details below) • Public funds, borrowed • Public funds, some cuts and some borrowed (please give details below) • Public-private partnership (similar to the M2) • Private investment only (similar to the Airport Link) • Other (please give details below)
Labor response Public funds – “No funding cuts will be required. The NWRL will be funded by public funds allocated from the NSW Budget, with potential for federal funding contribution to allow earlier delivery.” Source: Survey response. Greens response Public funds, borrowed – “The Greens NSW believe the state and federal governments should borrow all necessary funds to ensure the rail line is completed in the shortest time possible. Rail infrastructure of this scale and importance will continue to pay dividends for all Sydneysiders well into the future. Most taxpayers in the future should not be concerned they are paying off infrastructure built in the past which they are receiving a benefit from.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information The Working Group have asked Barry O’Farrell on several occasions to commit to which funding model will be used for the NWRL, no answer has been forthcoming. Ray Williams, local member for Hawkesbury, verbally advised that the Liberal Party will borrow money to “improve Hawkesbury neighbourhoods”. No other detail is available to clarify how the Liberal Party intend to fund and what ownership model they intend to employ to deliver the NWRL. Source: Conversations between Liberal Party politicians and the Hills Transport Working Group
How will capacity be built into the CityRail network for North West Rail Link services? • Utilising existing capacity only • Reducing current rail services on adjoining lines • Building a second Harbour crossing • Other (please give details below)
Labor response Other: “We have prioritised the City Relief Line which will free up capacity across the CityRail network and allow an extra 24 trains per hour into the CBD” Source: Survey response Greens response Building a second Harbour crossing: “A second harbour crossing must be prioritised by an incoming government, with all options put on the table in the first instance. However the NW rail link is still viable without second harbour crossing and should be commenced regardless. Ministry of Transport data shows that there are approx two times as many commuters from Region 4 (N-W) going to Region 7 (Epping- Nth Sydney) versus to CBD. Even if the trains stop at Nth Sydney they will be providing a much needed service and replacing single-occupant cars on the M2.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information No information is available for the Liberal Party. Source: none
What service frequency do you expect: • During peak • During off-peak • During the night
Labor response “We have prioritised the City Relief Line which will free up capacity across the CityRail network and allow an extra 24 trains per hour into the CBD” Source: Survey response Greens response “During peak 8-12 trains During off-peak 6-8 trains During the night 2-4 trains” Source: Survey response Liberal information No information is available for the Liberal Party Source: none.
Is your party committed to the MetroBus option? If not, why not?
Labor response The Labor party provided details of the 13 MetroBus routes which are currently in operation as part of their commitment to the Metrobus strategy.
Greens response â€œThe Greens NSW support the roll-out of MetroBuses across Sydney, including the North-West.â€? Source: Survey response.
Liberal information When Gladys Berejiklian was asked on 14 March about the new MetroBus routes and services proposed by the ALP, she confirmed her support for the project adding that the services should be more widely integrated into the transport network. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/state-election-2011/call-to-integrate-popularmetrobuses-20110314-1bugl.html
Are there any plans to propose expansion of the MetroBus network in North Western Sydney beyond the M60 and M61 routes? If yes, what proposed route/s do your party have and the timetable for implementation? (please append / reference)
Labor response “Metrobuses have been extremely popular with commuters and new routes are currently being considered” They also released information on 14 March about a rebrand of the T65 to M65 with increased services for the route between Parramatta and Rouse Hill. Source: Survey response and ALP Press Release Greens response “The Greens NSW support an expansion of bus routes in the area. A new integrated transport agency should address this according to the needs of the area. Any allocation of buses should be based on need and not politically motivated.” Source: Survey response.
Liberal information Although the Liberal Party has shown support for MetroBuses, no detail has been provided by the party as to what they might plan to do in government. Source: none.
Is your party committed to the Transitway (T-Way) option?
Labor response “The Transitway Program was a new public transport initiative introduced by the NSW Labor Government in 2004. The bus Transitway program provides improved public transport services around Sydney through reduced bus travel times and these services have improved access to jobs in key industrial areas and commercial centres. The $524 million North-West Transitway was opened to traffic in stages between March and November 2007. The North-West Transitway made up of two integrated links: Parramatta to Rouse Hill (17 kilometres and 19 stations) and Blacktown to Parklea (7 kilometres and 10 stations). The Transitways improve bus travel times and as one bus can take 40-50 cars off the road, they reduce congestion and vehicle emissions by encouraging more people to use public transport” Source: Survey response. Greens response “The Greens NSW believe the existing T-Way linking Parramatta to Rouse Hill, and Blacktown to Parklea, provides much needed interconnectivity in the region. As the vast majority of trips in the north west sector occur within the area, it’s imperative that transport planning provide integrated transport solutions for within the north-west area.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information At the Public Transport Forum in Epping hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald, Gladys Berejiklian committed the Liberal Party to deliver a transitway style service for the North Beaches, however when questions by the Hills Transport Working Group, no firm commitment to the system for North Western Sydney was able to be obtained. Source: none.
Are there any plans to propose expansion of the T-Way network in North Western Sydney? (please append / reference)
Labor response “Options to expand the T-Way are currently being considered.” Source: Survey response. Greens response “We will work to ensure improvements to the t-way, which currently has no dedicated bus lanes connecting to M2 and Epping-Chatswood Rail. In this 5 km gap, buses must travel at walking speed with cars during busy times.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information At the Public Transport Forum in Epping hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald, Gladys Berejiklian committed the Liberal Party to deliver a transitway style service for the North Beaches, however when questions by the Hills Transport Working Group, no firm commitment to the system for North Western Sydney was able to be obtained. Source: none.
Transport NSW Service Planning Guidelines for Sydney Contract regions require that 90% of households be within 400m of a bus stop. Contract Region 4, which encompasses The Hills District, only has 80%* of houses within the prescribed distance (based on the 2006 Census and Bus data collected in April 2010). What plans, if any, do you have to improve saturation of bus routes? Do you believe the consultative provisions in the Guidelines are adequate? If not, how would you improve upon them?
Labor response The Labor party’s response to this question did not address the topic of the question. The response did note that bus patronage grew by 12 per cent from 2009 to 2010 – faster than any other metropolitan region in Sydney. Source: Survey response. Greens response “What plans, if any, do you have to improve saturation of bus routes? The Greens NSW will support all moves to increase the number of bus routes, as long as they are in the interests of the residents. Do you believe the consultative provisions in the Guidelines are adequate? If not, how would you improve upon them? A wide group of stakeholders advised NSW Transport on the new community consultation guidelines. After an appropriate time (2-3 years) the government should review the guidelines and the implementation of the community consultation guidelines to see how they can be improved. The Greens NSW would support such a review and would also welcome representations from the local community about whether they think the guidelines are relevant.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information Source: none.
Do you plan to expand the Night Rider bus service into North Western Sydney to give residents access to late night/early morning public transport? If yes, please append any proposed routes and/or a timetable for implementation. If not, why not?
Labor response “The Government will continue late night bus services to the North West, including: • Route 600 (Parramatta to Castle Hill) • Route 610 (Railway Square to Castle hill and Rouse Hill) • Route 620 (Bathurst Street, City to James Henty Drive, Dural) • Route T65 (Parramatta to Rouse Hill)” The Hills Transport Working Group notes the routes listed by the Labor Party in their response are not listed on the Night Rider Website and they only run on Saturday nights from the city on a limited basis, compared to true NightRider services which run hourly between midnight and 4am seven days a week, both inward and outward Source: Survey response. Greens response “The Greens NSW support an expanded Night Rider bus service. We will work with a new, or existing, Agency to ensure the most appropriate frequency and timetabling for the existing and future demand and for passenger convenience.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information The Liberal Party have a policy on NightRider services on their website but make no mention of services for the Hills District. The website does propose a new NightRider services for the Richmond Line. Source: NSW Liberal Party Website
Is your party committed to a mixed use of dedicated on / off road cycleways and shared footpaths? If not, why not?
Labor response “The Government is committed to a mixed use of dedicated on/off-road cycleways and shared footpaths. Councils throughout the state are invited every year to submit cycleway projects for consideration of matched funding from RTA cycleway programs. The RTA aims to improved cyclist safety via the provision of off-road cycleways wherever practicable when major roads are built or upgraded. Bicycle facilities have been, and will continue to be delivered as part of all major road infrastructure projects. Source: Survey response. Greens response “The Greens NSW Active Transport initiatives include introducing some shared zones where speed limits for motor vehicles is reduced to 10km/h where they share the road with cyclists and pedestrians. We will also reduce the speed limit around some urban centres to 40km/h which will reduce injuries and deaths of cyclists and pedestrians hit by vehicles. A significant increase in the amount of funding for cycling infrastructure is necessary if Sydney is to have world-class cycling facilities like separate cycleways and cycling infrastructure at public transport interchanges. The Greens will build more pedestrian overpasses across major roads and ensure traffic signals at intersections are more bike and pedestrian friendly.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information No information is available regarding Bicycling as a mode of transport for North Western Sydney. Source: none.
A new cycling website was launched by the RTA on 21 January 2011, which advertises itself as a ‘comprehensive source of NSW cycling information’. Do you think it is adequate that no cycle information is available for Blacktown City when cycleways are in existence and in use? Do you think it is adequate that no inter-city /arterial route cycle information is available for The Hills Shire (excepting the M2) when cycleways are in existence and in use?
Labor response “The bicycleinfo website includes all the existing cycleway maps that have been produced by NSW government agencies, local councils and other stakeholders, and are available in PDF form. While no maps are currently available from the website specifically for Blacktown LGA, the website project team will be happy to upload anything that the council wants to distribute. Blacktown area cycleways are shown on relevant wider area maps, including the maps of the Westlink M7 cycleway. The Website project team has worked closely with Baulkham Hills LGA stakeholders, including the council, to upload the following maps to bicyclinginfo, as well as a promo tile on the homepage for the ‘Tour De Hills’ event.” The Working Group notes that improvements have been made to the bicyclensw.info website since 21 February 2011 to begin capturing cycle routes for the Hills after representations to Government that this information was missing. Source: Survey response. Greens response “The format of the information provided is entirely unsuitable. It does not fit on a normal page and cannot be viewed at all on mobile devices, as would be required by cyclists. Do you think it is adequate that no cycle information is available for Blacktown City when cycleways are in existence and in use? No, nor is it adequate that there is no information for Hills District, including off-road cycle paths to Parramatta, Liverpool and Windsor. Comprehensive and user-friendly information on all cycleways must be included on the RTA's website. The RTA’s provision of information for cyclists is clearly inadequate and the organisation does not treat cycling as the legitimate form of transport that it is. Do you think it is adequate that no inter-city /arterial route cycle information is available for The Hills Shire (excepting the M2) when cycleways are in existence and in use? Clearly cycling needs to be prioritised and considered a legitimate form of transport by governments and transport planners in Sydney. The RTA’s track record on cycling has never been good with their prioritization of new tollroads and motorways for vehicles while marginalising and, sometimes excluding, cyclists. The culture of the RTA does not encourage the inclusion of cycling in new projects.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information No information is available regarding Bicycling as a mode of transport for North Western Sydney. Source: none.
Are there any plans to improve links between cycling and other transport modes? (please reference / append)
Labor response “The NSW BikePlan details a commitment to improving links between cycling and other transport modes. A key commitment of the NSW BikePlan is to improve cycling networks that provide access to public transport, and to improve bike parking and facilities at transport interchanges. Cycling can increase the catchment of local transport services including bus stops and train stations. Bike parking facilities and destination signage in local areas will improve access to public transport. Through NSW BikePlan, local cycle links will be delivered to new public transport interchanges through the delivery of major projects. The Government is working to provide bike parking at transport interchanges, CityRail stations, ferry wharves and major bus interchanges, and the existing cycle locker scheme at selected public transport locations will be maintained and promoted. “ Source: Survey response. Greens response “The Greens want 5% of the RTA’s annual budget spent on cycling. This would include a dedicated and well-staffed cycling unit as part of a new Integrated Transport Agency; driver and cyclist education; roll out of cycling infrastructure across the city and coordinated across local government areas, bike hire and easy storage, shower facilities, etc.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information No information is available regarding Bicycling as a mode of transport for North Western Sydney. Source: none.
Is your party planning on introducing a transport option currently not available to Hills residents, other than those above? (please reference/append)Testing
Labor response “The Government is delivering more public transport for Sydney than ever before. We are taking steps to make using public transport easier and more enjoyable. We have introduced MyZone to make fares simpler and easier. We have also announced that by the end of this month, all Sydney Buses commuters will be able to send a text message and receive up-to-the minute information about when their net bus will arrive. 600,000 passengers a day who catch Sydney Buses will have access to up-to-the-minute transport information direct to their mobile phone. If the Keneally Government is re-elected, the new bus SMS service will be extended to every bus in the metropolitan network – including both public and private operators. A re-elected Keneally Government will also extend wi-fi to all public transport services across Sydney. We have started this program on Sydney Ferries and the Metro10 bus. Source: Survey response. Greens response “The Greens NSW are strong supporters of accessible transport, particularly for the aged and for people living with disability and have long advocated more funding and resources to ensuring all people in NSW can get around if they need to. It’s important that all transport plans cater for those that need access to transport the most and the Greens NSW will continue to work for this in the new Parliament. The Greens have a policy to reduce motorway tolls for motorcycles and scooters relative to cars.” Source: Survey response. Liberal information No information about Liberal Party innovative policy was made available to the Hills Transport Working Group at the time of publication. Source: none.
Published on Mar 17, 2011