A senior government official has confirmed the government has given preliminary approval to the $300m investment to build the $50-billion, seven-lane Pacific Gateway Link.
Deputy Premier Julie Bishop says she’s confident of approval in the first stage of the federal environmental impact assessment process.
She believes most residents of the west-central NSW will have voted against the original Northern water link proposals. Her office says the government’s new plans can overcome concerns about land acquisition, traffic congestion and potential water impact.
The project would connect an existing Sydney freeway, the Trans-Port Link, a rail link from the city to the northern town.
“We believe the best way to look at this is in the bigger picture of the state of the north of state,” Ms Bishop told ABC News Breakfast.
NSW Premier Mike Baird said he had to negotiate with the federal government because the proposed Pacific Link was to be built north of the northern city of Newcastle.
But Ms Bishop says the project will “look great on the map” and was a “win win proposition”.
She said she has received assurances from the federal government that the project would be reviewed on an expedited basis and would be presented in the spring.
“If it looks like it’s going to go a hell of a lot faster than we originally thought, then we’ll happily proceed,” she said.
In the wake of a decision handed back to the Greens in 2013, the government had previously sought to use the project to “create a more prosperous northern Sydney”.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says the Government will not be “wet-footing” local communities about the project and will seek to maximise benefits along the route.
He says the government has no doubt locals will have supported the project.
The first stage of the WA section of the Pacific Link was given to the Greens in November 2013 after a long negotiation process.
Topics: states-and-territories, federal—state-issues, federal-government, nsw, brazil, sydney-2000, nsw-australia
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