Morrison’s backyard problems

Truck numbers on major roads will drop no time soon.
Truck numbers on major roads will drop no time soon.

Scott Morrison is a hard-working local federal MP who finds himself standing in Canberra, in Bob Menzies’ shoes.  

Scott’s repeated position is that he wants the F6 built as fast as possible.

Three of PM Turnbull’s Federal/NSW issues will disappoint the new PM or even make him angry.

At the start, we have two agencies which are supposed to be improving the transport-land use issues that have dogged Sydney for two decades.  

Infrastructure Australia is supposed to properly assess “priority projects;  while the Greater Sydney Commission is supposed to achieve “orderly transport and land use” planning.

Are they doing their jobs?  Not even half-way.

Port Botany is a great example.  NSW has no proper Ports Plan and Minister Pavey and the Botany/Kembla port corporation think that those two Ports will dominate container traffic until our grandchildren have children.  They reject more professional views even from the State’s top expert.

Turnbull got iA to engage the Botany Ports CEO, Marika Calfas, to chair a panel which has set national directions, iA says.  It recommended strengthening that monopoly, not reducing the pressures around the Botany truck routes.

At 2025 the level of trucking will be almost double the 2015 level and politically explosive.  At 2030 it’s three times or 5,600 trucks day – 300 per hour outside of peaks Vs 85 now.

The Port is excluded from WestConnex and the Portal’s $2 billion plus price tag is unfunded, in fact they haven’t even produced a feasibility study. 

TfNSW (and GSC) got the mythology right in its current documentation:   “The F6 Extension Stage 1 has been identified in the October 2017 draft Future Transport Strategy 2056, as a committed transport initiative for New South Wales for the next 10 years, subject to a final business case.”

The Roads Minister’s Press Release at June Budget time stated that 4kms had been funded at up to $50 million of a likely $2.6 billion, and that “connection tunnels to facilitate future components of the F6 between Kogarah and Loftus, which are in development”, were included.  

The previous year she made much the same announcement but cut-out the 4th extension stage to Waterfall because of (predictable) impacts on houses and National Park.

Trips through Sutherland will grow with car importing at Port Kembla.  There are over 7,000 heavy trucks per day on Mt Ousley and beyond (2.4 million a year), a 26% increase since Carr’s decision in 2003 to close the working harbour.

Calfas expects car imports to grow from 390,000 in 2015 to up to 560,000 in 2025 which is 44% increase;  and up to 850,000 in 2045. 

The local depot (instead of railing ) at Kembla Grange doubles the number of truck trips per ship as does Moorebank Terminal more or less.  

Updating the 2003 estimate of 113,000 car trucks per annum produces the estimate of 205,000 trucks in 2025 – and the F6 will not be built by then.

In other words, truck numbers on major roads will drop no time real soon.  Mr Morrison has every reason to be worried.

None of iA, Berejiklian, Turnbull, GSC or NSW Ports, as well as no industry or port body, were prepared to look at the alternative plan, this author’s Eastern Seaborn Rail Freight Strategic Plan (2012 onwards).  The same is true of the eastern councils.

Add to this, the Tempe spaghetti might be the worse option except that Berejiklian doesn’t allow options to be tested.  Rockdale Council used top experts a decade ago to link the F6 with Brereton’s eastern roads and F5 – would that be cheaper, faster and less damaging to St George and Tempe?

Scott Morrison should be looking hard for better ideas, to better support our communities.