Labor will provide $1 billion for Western Sydney light rail - without privatising the state's electricity network

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A Labor Government will provide $1 billion for the construction of a Western Sydney Light Rail line – as part of Labor’s $1.5 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure package announced yesterday.

Labor confirmed it will not privatise the state’s electricity network to deliver funding for the project – unlike Mike Baird and the Liberals who will only fund the project if they sell our electricity network.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley was joined by Shadow Minister for Transport Penny Sharpe and Labor candidates Julia Finn (Granville), Jodi McKay (Strathfield) and James Shaw (Parramatta) at Sydney Olympic Park to make the announcement.

“Labor will provide $1 billion for a Western Sydney Light Rail network from our fund for Western Sydney infrastructure – and we’ll pay for it without having to privatise the electricity network,” Mr Foley said.

“Mike Baird has told the people of Western Sydney that you will only get a light rail network if you give him the tick on his risky plan to privatise the electricity network – blackmail should not be the way we build infrastructure in Sydney.

“Labor’s infrastructure plan is supported by proven and reliable funding sources – in stark contrast to the Liberals’ risky privatisation plan.

“Labor is making modest commitments with the right priorities – a Western Sydney Light Rail, centred on Sydney’s second CBD of Parramatta, is one of our infrastructure priorities.

“I was the first frontbench MP on either side of politics to support Western Sydney Light Rail back in 2013 – and a Labor Government I lead will provide the funding to get it underway.”

The funding for Western Sydney Light Rail is included within Labor’s plan for infrastructure – A Better Way – which unlocks an additional $10.055 billion of infrastructure investment over the next ten years without privatising the electricity network.

Labor’s additional $10 billion for infrastructure is on top of recurrent capital expenditure contained within the budget – valued at $15 billion per year.

Mr Foley said his preferred option would be a light rail link between Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park and Strathfield. Finalisation of the route and the staging of the project would be subject to a full business case.

“Subject to proper analysis – which we would undertake in government – we are saying Labor’s strong preference for the first Western Sydney light rail route is linking Parramatta to Strathfield via Sydney Olympic Park,” Mr Foley said.

“Parramatta to Strathfield via Sydney Olympic Park has the support of business, and I am very encouraged by interest from the private sector to co-invest.

“More than 20 years ago Sydney Olympic Park was an industrial wasteland, now it’s a vibrant, growing, residential, employment and entertainment precinct that now needs stronger transport links to the surrounding region.”

Shadow Minister for Transport Penny Sharpe said a light rail route between Parramatta, Olympic Park and Strathfield would link important residential, employment and entertainment precincts and their surrounding communities to each other and provide further opportunity for jobs and economic growth.

“This route makes sense because it connects the fast growing residential suburbs of Camellia and Wentworth Point to light rail as well as the Olympic Park precinct,” Ms Sharpe said.

“Improving intra-regional travel in Western Sydney needs to be a priority if we want to attract more smart jobs to the suburbs and reduce the need to commute long distances across the city.

“A Western Sydney Light Rail network is a common sense way of reducing congestion on our roads and heavy rail network.”

Labor Candidate for Strathfield Jodi McKay said: “Olympic Park is an important jobs generator for the region but is being held back by limited public transport options – a light rail connection between Strathfield and Parramatta via Olympic Park would be a boon to the area.”

Labor Candidate for Granville Julia Finn said: “Labor’s $1 billion plan for light rail in Western Sydney will be a tremendous benefit to local communities as the network grows and expands – Labor will make sure we have a strong foundation for the network.”

Labor Candidate for Parramatta James Shaw said: “Labor recognises the how crucial it is to strengthen the public transport connections between Parramatta and surrounding residential, employment and entertainment precincts.

“Linking up the employment and cultural powerhouses of Western Sydney with a light rail network will spur on more jobs and more economic activity for the entire region.”