Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
THE O'Farrell government has been ''arse-about'' in releasing plans for transport ahead of its vision of where people in Sydney will live and work in the next 20 years, says the chairman of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner.
Mr Greiner used a presentation on Tuesday to also talk about the lack of proposals to improve transport in western Sydney; to reveal that a deal to build the F3-to-M2 motorway was close; and to reiterate his scepticism about light rail in central Sydney and his support for a Badgerys Creek airport.
One of the weakness is there are not a lot of good ideas about western Sydney … Western Sydney is sort of the problem, it is where the population growth is.
The O'Farrell government had intended to release its view on where development would concentrate in the next two decades at the same time as it outlined what transport projects it would build.
Nick Greiner ... "There's no point having Transport do its long-term masterplan". Photo: Tamara Voninski
But the metropolitan strategy, developed under the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, has not yet been released. A transport masterplan and a state infrastructure strategy put together by Mr Greiner's Infrastructure NSW were unveiled last year.
''The land use plan should have come first,'' Mr Greiner told a seminar at the University of Sydney's Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies on Tuesday. ''There's no point having Transport do its long-term masterplan … if you haven't worked out where jobs are and where people are, and so on.
''So the metro plan was meant to happen along with our SIS [State Infrastructure Strategy] and the transport masterplan, and it didn't for whatever reason … so clearly that's a bit arse-about.''
In his address, Mr Greiner also lamented the lack of proposals for western Sydney. In particular, the O'Farrell government has no firm idea of how to make it easier for people to travel north to south in Sydney's west.
''One of the weaknesses is there are not a lot of good ideas about western Sydney … personal view,'' Mr Greiner said.
''The real question if you look out 10 to 20 years are north-south links. Western Sydney is sort of the problem, it is where the population growth is.''
From Mr Greiner's perspective, the catalyst for transport development in the city's west would be an airport at Badgerys Creek. Both sides of politics, however, remain officially attached to the ''crazy view'' an airport there is not appropriate.
In response to Mr Greiner's comments, Mr Hazzard said the Planning and Transport departments had been working together. ''Unlike Labor, we have set aside the silo mentality between agencies,'' Mr Hazzard said. ''What's pivotal now, and very different from the Labor government, is that growth and the economy are at the forefront across all portfolio decisions.''
When it is released, the metropolitan plan is expected to focus on promoting developments in ''infill'' areas of Sydney, rather than greenfield developments on the outskirts of Sydney.
The demand among property buyers has been to buy and invest in areas closer to established transport links. The metropolitan plan, to be released soon, is expected to follow this.
Mr Greiner said it was likely that a proposed tunnel to be built by Transurban under Pennant Hills Road linking the F3 motorway with the M2 would be under construction by the next election.