News Parliament


One of the reasons I entered this parliament was to bridge the great divide between the city and the country. Our electorate lies on the western side of the Great Dividing Range—the 'sandstone curtain', as we call it. It not only is a physical divide between the city and the country but also, for many in the regions, represents a divide of opportunity, of representation, of development and of population between those east of it and those west of it. The great divide exists in education, in access to medical services and in social disadvantage. We in central-western New South Wales want our region to grow and prosper so that it continues to provide an unbeatable quality of life for generations to come. There is no better way to literally bridge the great divide than to build a new expressway over the top of it or, indeed, tunnel underneath it—or both. Sydney is bursting at the seams. With each passing week its suburbs march closer to the mountains. An expressway from Sydney's north-west into Lithgow, in the vicinity of the Bells Line of Road, would open up the communities of the west. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on the Pacific Highway upgrade; it's costing over $50 million per kilometre. We in the central-west don't dispute that it's needed, but we believe that it's time western New South Wales got its fair share. Let's not dither for another generation. This project needs to happen, and all levels of government should be supporting it. The renewed push for an expressway into central-western New South Wales is on.