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Budget’s $400m for Northo Bridge Duplication – MP promises “best outcome for whole community”

Oct 30, 2022


Some $400 million of Federal funds to help pay for the much-discussed North Richmond Bridge Duplication has been included in Labor’s first Budget, despite claims during the May election from the local Liberal candidate only she would deliver the bridge duplication.


Macquarie MP Susan Templeman – who won a thumping victory over Liberal Sarah Richards – now known by her maiden name Sarah McMahon – in the Federal election said this weekend that when it comes to the final route she would be advocating for “the best possible outcome for our whole community”.


Back in May, Ms Templeman promised $400m in Federal funding for the bridge and route if Labor won power.


The new bridge – which at the moment is planned to sit slightly downstream of the current North Richmond bridge – and connected road route, is a State government project, which the Federal government is also tipping $400m into.


Ms Templeman said no one should be surprised by that move.


“I have advocated and progressed this project since 2010, when the then Infrastructure Minister, now Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese committed $20 million to do the first planning for a duplication,” Ms Templeman said.


“For many years, I was a lone political voice in the Hawkesbury on this issue at a State and Federal level, but there has always been enormous community support.”


Back in May, during the lead up to the Federal election, then Liberal candidate Richards – who is now Hawkesbury’s Mayor – put up a series of paid-for social media Ads saying, “only Sarah Richards will deliver the Hawkesbury River Third Crossing”. Given the Federal government has never been responsible for delivering the third crossing – it’s a state project – many saw that simply as blatant electioneering.


When the Federal Coalition was in power – and the State, as now, was headed by the Liberals and Nationals – Labor MP Templeman was not included in discussions about the proposed bridge and route, despite asking for briefings on numerous occasions.


Since the May General Election and change of Federal government, Ms Templeman is now being briefed on the project.


“I look forward to progressing work with the NSW government, who is ultimately responsible for finalising the route and constructing the bridge.


“I intend to continue advocating for those most affected by the proposed route so that we get the best possible outcome for our whole community,” says the MP.


During our lengthy flood emergencies, much of the proposed – and favoured by Transport for NSW – Green Route was well under water, raising questions about the sense of choosing that route, given many residents may need to evacuate.


The Green Route would also adversely affect residents in several streets, most notably those living in Southee Road, Richmond – who would see no traffic benefit unless they happened to work west of the river – but would see a noise mitigation wall built only metres away from their homes, blocking their view over paddocks, and a huge increase in traffic past their homes.


With the Green Route, Inalls Lane residents would see significant increases in noise and traffic, and one family would see their entire home demolished. Other residents on Richmond Lowlands and Terrace Road at North Richmond would also lose their homes, and a working farm would see their cattle paddocks divided by a major road.


Certainly, feelings have run high in the community over every proposed route, with residents both for and against each of them.


The Community Stakeholder Working Group of Hawkesbury residents has had no communication from Transport for NSW for many months – the last update they received was back in January – some nine months ago.


What isn’t in doubt is progressing the so-called Third River Crossing and keeping everyone happy may be almost as big a challenge as building the bridge and route itself.


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