Jenny Leong MP on the Dissolution of RMS

Jenny Leong MP, Greens Member for Newtown has praised the dissolution of the RMS, which will see it's responsibilities handed over to Transport for NSW.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (16:50): I will make a brief contribution to debate on the Transport Administration Amendment (RMS Dissolution) Bill 2019 in addition to the contribution made by my colleague The Greens member for Balmain, Jamie Parker. It is very important to merge the Roads and Maritime Services [RMS] with Transport for NSW. Dissolving RMS and ensuring the assets, rights and liabilities of RMS on its dissolution are transferred to Transport for NSW is key. In many ways we have seen a failure to integrate transport and road construction in our inner-city areas, which has had a huge impact, particularly on the Newtown electorate. Transport for NSW is championing a massive road agenda, particularly WestConnex, when we know full well that those are not the solutions we need to transport and congestion problems. I am sure many constituents in Newtown and beyond would hope this merge will result in an integration that recognises the need to prioritise sustainable forms of transport that service our communities and not add to the congestion problem.

Sadly, RMS will have left a legacy of unacceptable traffic congestion in Sydney, poorly maintained and inadequate roads and road infrastructure in New South Wales country areas, but particularly the management of WestConnex. As the member for Balmain said, in April 2019 it was reported that WestConnex had breached one of its approval conditions requiring that two lanes on Parramatta Road from Burwood to Haberfield would be dedicated to public transport—a fast bus corridor as mandated in condition B34. The M4 East has been constructed and there is still no sign of this condition being met. When the environmental impact statement was issued The Greens asked questions in this Chamber and were told the public transport and bus lanes would be delivered as part of the benefit-cost ratio to justify the expenditure and the delivery of WestConnex. However, they have never been delivered.

Ms Yasmin Catley: Are you surprised?

Ms JENNY LEONG: I am not surprised. I knew at the time and that is why I am raising this matter. I sound surprised, but I am so over being bored by asking the same questions and not getting the right answers. I am trying to ask the Government with a bit of enthusiasm. We knew there was no integrated plan. We knew we were delivering massive motorways into the city without looking at what was happening to communities. We heard from mayors in western Sydney who said their communities were suffering health problems as a result of commuting. They need more support to be able to catch public transport and active transport. They said their communities were struggling because there was not an integrated approach.

If we are looking at the end of RMS I am very disappointed about one thing. I am very disappointed that Duncan Gay, the former roads Minister, is not here to see the abolition of the RMS because he was the one who told me and the people of Newtown that we would be driving our cars in Nirvana when WestConnex was delivered. I say to Duncan Gay, wherever he is now—he may be somewhere in the electorate of Newtown, I am not sure—we are in Nirvana at the potential end to the domination of privatised motorways and toll roads in our city. Hopefully we will have—and this is a big hope—an end to the delivery of more congestion-creating roads as a solution to existing congestion in our city and an integrated solution that moves beyond the one‑eyed, arrogant approach of RMS, a body that has failed to deliver the environmentally sustainable transport solutions that we require.

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