WS City Deal Betrayal

Turnbull/Taylor/ Fletcher/McCormack/ DIRD/GSC


  • $100 million (with NSW) to consultants for a false “business case” on a silly idea that cannot work
  • $400 million to duplicate the Botany Line which will not put one extra train on it.


Started with corruption of principles and process by PMO under Turnbull and Taylor, then 72nd week betrayal of Illawarra, SW Sydney and Parramatta by replacing trains with metros (excluding freight), then PMO takeover of DIRD with GSC doing implementation (locking out professionals and communities).

No legitimisation or due diligence on 360o diseconomies.  Undermines Badgerys/Aerotropolis, Parramatta City and Port Kembla, and MUST BE STOPPED.

On 4 December ’18 Berejiklian presaged four possible routes for fast rail out of Sydney, all capricious, white-boarded and improbable.  One, expanding the rail link to Badgerys, is simply a LIE.  Reasons follow.

In October 2016, when Mike Baird was under heavy attack over greyhounds, he and Prime Minister Turnbull had said the first City Deal is a “very big change” in the federal government’s relationship with the (NSW) government when it came to the investment in cities”.

On 4 March 2018 the PM and Premier Berejiklian, with eight mayors, announced the outcome of the “WS City Deal”.  A long-standing belief that the southwest heavy rail link would be extended northwards was reversed in favour of the hypothetical southwards extension of the NW Metro so far as Badgerys Airport.

In fact, the link will be from St Marys on the Bradfield CityRail, well divorced from the NW Metro,  this will be the worse airport transit system in the world.  A further extension to Campbelltown is in the hands of the gods, with $100 billion of unfunded promises in the eastern city’s project queue ahead of it.

There was no sign of iA-type evaluation of options.  Media attention was centred on Badgerys Airport, with no immediate realisation of the significance of the “unintended consequences” of the Metro volte face for

  • viability of port terminals and of links to Inland Rail
  • inter-state and -regional railing of freight and passengers, the Illawarra and SW
  • the further destruction of the Bradfield rail legacy
  • community credibility and cynicism barriers to sound infrastructure planning, and
  • financial irregularities which preclude due diligence and feasibility testing of options.

The intersection with the Main West Line at St Marys made no sense as it failed to link with Parramatta and the Metro via the Parramatta/Epping Link;  and failed to include Nick Greiner’s upgraded Main West or Ron Christie’s freight line from Enfield to Werrington (serving just a collapsing Botany),  each possibly onto the inland rail bridge, as options or addenda.  A stroke of the pen, in a distant political forum, sterilised a whole Port’s access to the national logistics network.

The 2018 Budget contained $50 million (plus NSW’s $50 million) for the preparation of a business case – so Port Kembla and Illawarra/South West commuting were damaged without even the simplest “engineering & economics” protocols!  The “very big change” was the elimination of commonsense.

There was a web of extraneous influences including Premier Berejiklian’s desperate efforts to justify her July 2012 volte face on the NW project that was opposed by the then Chair of Infrastructure NSW, the Hon Nick Greiner;  and the embedding of Baird’s/Berejiklian’s ideologies in the “plans” of the GSC.

The selected councils did not include the councils with the biggest interests including the Cities of Wollongong, Parramatta and Blacktown.  The “Deal” is not Constitutional and cannot be binding.

The Regional Organisation of Councils was no help:  WSROC’s CEO had said that the full north-south “is not about growth forecasting, or business cases, or demand modelling, or feasibility studies. It is all about vision and just a little bit about courage”.  This is another in a long series of cases which show that few if any local councils are capable of contributing to the development of metropolitan strategies, only of making submissions to formal inquiries.

The City Deal as delivered, with iA’s “Future Cities – Planning for Population Growth”, fails to incorporate accepted “due diligence” protections of the public interest and intergenerational equity.  It particular it

  • repeats failures to include needs analysis and feasibility studies of options
  • continues dysfunctional project approaches which take a Populist angle and ignore “economics and engineering”, and
  • denies Turnbull’s promises of “no place for ideology” and eliminating “anachronistic spatial determinism”.

The implications extend past the WS region to all of Greater Sydney’s networked transport and logistics systems.  It is suggested it be withdrawn and re-done, urgently because as it is, it will cripple Sydney’s economy for generations.


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