Member for Balmain Jamie Parker has delivered a speech to Parliament, calling on the government to start serious work with the community to implement an extended light rail service connecting Strathfield to the CBD via Parramatta Road and to Balmain via the former White Bay goods line.
Mr Parker said:
“Yesterday in Parliament I spoke out on behalf of our community, asking the government to work seriously with us to provide a light rail link from Strathfield to the CBD along Parramatta Road.
I took the chance to publicly thank the thousands of community members who have signed petitions, attended meetings and spoken to me at my community stalls about the need for further light rail services.
We have had a great deal of success with our advocacy of light rail including the Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill light rail line as well as CBD light rail. The Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill light rail line has been operating for several years and has seen customer journeys shoot up by almost 60 per cent between 2014 and 2015 – jumping from 3.9 million to 6.1 million.
As I told the Parliament today, now more than ever we need to connect and extend light rail along Parramatta Road and to Balmain.
I recently met with the University of Sydney, which is seeking to drive the innovation agenda by linking existing health, creative, media and technology nodes with a centralised knowledge hub. It has the potential to play a key role as a catalyst for Sydney's first innovation district, and a light rail service along Parramatta Road linking the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney and so on would be critical to this development.
The claim that WestConnex will reduce traffic on Parramatta Road has gone up in exhaust smoke. Contrary to the claim by the former Minister that Parramatta Road would become a nirvana, the Camperdown access ramps are to be scrapped, which means that traffic will move from Ashfield and Haberfield along Parramatta Road, not under it.
The Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Plan relied on that reduction in traffic along Parramatta Road as one of its key justifications for enormous overdevelopment. That justification no longer exists, which should make the Transformation Plan null and void.
Light rail works; it must be connected. There is an opportunity to connect light rail along Parramatta Road and into Balmain. We know that the knowledge sector wants it, the business community wants it and ordinary travellers from our area and from greater Sydney want it. It is time for us to examine the opportunities in that corridor.
Light rail will work not just for the people of our area, but also for everyone who travels in and out of the city for work, shopping or a day out. With better light rail services in and out of the CBD, we can have less bus jams, more reliability and less frustrating waiting at bus stops.”