Liberals at odds over funding for Parramatta light rail extension

“Governments make election commitments all the time without a business case. Any money would help start the process. Wentworth Point is a road in, a road out,” he said.

“The reality is that we are going to find it very difficult to finance this project. We already have significant commitments on our books.

Artist’s impression of the second stage of the light rail line over the Parramatta River between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.Credit:PAYCE

The second stage of the Parramatta tram is among projects that could be further delayed under NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s plans to push back major infrastructure builds amid rising construction costs and labor shortage.

Labor holds the federal seat in Parramatta, which would also be served by an extended light rail, just 3.5%. The ALP’s top candidate, Andrew Charlton, is vying with the Liberal Party’s Maria Kovacic for the seat.

New South Wales Transport Minister David Elliott said the second stage of the light rail project, announced by his predecessor, was never conditional on federal funding.

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However, he said the federal treasury would be among those he would approach for money when he received the business case for stage two.

Elliott said “responsible government” waits for a business case before committing money.

The state transit agency previously said a “refreshed” final business case for stage two was due to be delivered to the government’s spending review committee this year.

An earlier version of the final business case was presented to government adviser, Infrastructure NSW in 2019.

When the proposed route for stage two was unveiled in 2017, then transport minister Andrew Constance said he hoped construction would start before 2020.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said the delay to stage two of the Parramatta light rail was a joint failure of state governments and the federal coalition.

“State and Federal Liberals will deliver nothing, and the people of Parramatta and Western Sydney are left without the transport service they have been promised,” he said.

NSW Labor is yet to commit to the project if it wins government in 2023.

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