Today we asked the Premier if he will meet residents impacted by Westconnex construction to hear about their experiences and respond to their concerns.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:12 :07 ): My question is directed to the Premier. Will the Premier join me to meet with communities affected by WestConnex, before the end of the year, so that he can hear about their experiences and respond to their concerns?
Mr MIKE BAIRD ( Manly—Premier, and Minister for Western Sydney) (15:12:11): I thank the member for her question. We do not agree with many of The Greens' policies, but we can all agree that they make very constructive contributions. They ask very good questions and they represent their communities very well. Not only that but we are very confident there will be more Greens members after the next election. I will come to that in a second. As the member for Newtown knows, I meet with many people and groups across Australia, some who are for WestConnex and others who are against WestConnex. Some individuals have been impacted by the project. We should not be having a diary chat in the Chamber, but I will do it because the member for Newtown asked me to. I am very happy to meet with the member for Newtown and one or two others who represent some of those groups. I do not have my diary in front of me, but we can find a time that works for both of us. I am happy to do that.
We strongly believe WestConnex will bring huge benefits to the people of this State and this city. I will use this opportunity to quickly go through them. I will give an example of how fantastic WestConnex will be for the city overall. Sydney drivers will have the option to bypass 52 sets of traffic lights. It is estimated that there will be 24,000 fewer cars on Southern Cross Drive. There will be 15,000 fewer cars on General Holmes Drive. The expectation is that the City West Link will remove 6,000 cars from the route. Traffic on Victoria Road from the Iron Cove Bridge will be reduced by almost 50 per cent. There is also expected to be less traffic on King Street, Homebush Bay Drive, Fairford Road, Roberts Road, Burwood Road, the Hume Highway, Burke Road, Botany Road, New Canterbury Road and O'Riordan Street.
In addition, the planning Minister has been busy—when he is not taking Berocca—working to improve the urban amenity along Parramatta Road; a large number of projects that will make a huge difference. There will be a further 2½ hectares of green space in St Peters. In Rozelle there will be 10 hectares of brand-new parkland that we are very proud to be delivering. We think there are significant benefits to WestConnex. Obviously there are some who do not agree with it. Personal circumstances have made things difficult for some individuals and we have announced a number of measures to address that. We will organise a meeting to deal with the concerns raised by the member for Newtown. I am very happy to do that. I strongly believe there will be more Greens in the next Parliament—and not only because of their constructive contribution. There are members in this House, such as the member for Summer Hill and the member for Blue Mountains, who are no longer part of the Labor Party; they are part of the Shooters, Fishers and Foley Party.
Ms Kate Washington: Point of order: My point of order goes to relevance, Standing Order 129. The question was about WestConnex. This has nothing to do with the question.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Premier will return to the leave of the question, which was about WestConnex.
Mr MIKE BAIRD: I do not recognise the Labor Party on the opposite side of the Chamber, but I do recognise the Shooters, Fishers and Foley Party. Last night the Frankie Valli song Oh, What a Night was playing. The Leader of the Opposition had dinner last night. Oh, yes, he did. Who was there? It was not the member for Fairfield. He is organising the numbers for the member for Maroubra, so he was not there.
Mr Guy Zangari: Point of order: My point of order is taken under Standing Order 129, relevance. This has nothing to do with the question about WestConnex.
The SPEAKER: Order! I uphold the point of order. The member for Fairfield will resume his seat. The Premier will return to the leave of the question.
Mr MIKE BAIRD: How are the member for Maroubra's numbers going? Anyway, there was the Leader of the Opposition last night at the inaugural annual general meeting—
Ms Kate Washington: Point of order—
The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Port Stephens to order for the first time. The member will resume her seat.
Ms Kate Washington: The Premier is flouting the Speaker's ruling.
The SPEAKER: Order! I have directed the Premier to return to the leave of the question. The member for Port Stephens will resume her seat.
Mr MIKE BAIRD: On one side was Robert Borsak, on the other was Robert Brown and there was Luke Foley right in the middle. I do not know what they had to eat; I am guessing it was venison.
Mr Luke Foley: It was a celebration. What can I say?