HUNTER MPs want the state government to stump up $13 million for the next stage of the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange.
The infrastucture project, currently under construction at Glendale, was ignored in the federal Budget.
Lake Macquarie City Council had asked the federal and state governments to provide $13 million each to help fund the next stage of the project, the $32 million Pennant Street Bridge.
The Hunter’s Labor MPs, and Independent Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, have told Fairfax Media they want the state government to take the lead in the project, and to announce funding in the June state Budget.
What’s more, they said the cashed-up state government couldn’t cry poor having overseen the $7.6 billion sale of Endeavour Energy.
In a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the MPs said the privatisation of assets such as the Port of Newcastle and the sale of poles and wires had delivered “significant revenue for Sydney-based projects” and that it was “appropriate” that those funds “also benefit regional communities”.
The interchange has been declared a “priority project” by all 11 local councils in the Hunter.
The first stage of the interchange is scheduled to open next month.
The planned Pennant Street Bridge could be built within two years if funding is secured, the council said.
At the Property Council of Australia’s Hunter lunch on Friday, a sold-out room heard the interchange would stimulate a housing and employment boom, and vastly improve transport connectivity in the Glendale-Cardiff area.
Council’s general manager, Brian Bell, said the case for building the interchange was strong.
“The business case for this project is solid,” Mr Bell said.
“We are confident that if the state government comes on board with funding in its Budget next month, the federal government will follow.”
The shovel-ready Pennant Street Bridge would connect the Glendale retail precinct with the Cardiff commercial and manufacturing zone on the other side of the Main Northern Railway Line.
Construction of the bridge would open up land for residential, business and industrial development.
“The project has the potential to create affordable housing for nearly 5000 residents and 3800 new jobs in this emerging strategic centre,” Mr Bell said.
A future stage of the project would see a full transport interchange built at Glendale, including a new train station.
The interchange also has the backing of the NRMA.
NRMA chair Kyle Loades said the interchange was integral to meeting the region’s transport needs.
“We must shift people to public transport and the proper infrastructure will make an enormous difference to encouraging people out of their cars and on to the public transport system,” Mr Loades said.
Stockland development manager, Kirrily Lord, also spoke at the Property Council of Australia lunch.
She said Stockland was pleased to see significant progress on the first stage of the interchange, located next to its Glendale shopping centre.
“Ongoing investment in transport infrastructure is vitally important to connecting communities to retail and services, and we would welcome commitment to future stages of the interchange project,” Ms Lord said.
Property Council Hunter director, Andrew Fletcher, said the project was important to realising the state government’s vision for the Hunter, which identifies the Glendale-Cardiff area as an emerging strategic centre.
“This infrastructure project has the potential to establish Glendale-Cardiff as the Hunter’s new employment super-hub and regional transport interchange,” he said.
- Locals can show their support for the project by visiting lakemac.com.au/transport-interchange and filling in an online form asking the Premier to provide the requested funding needed to bring the project to fruition.