THE NSW Government has called for qualified parties to register their interest in the sale of 51 per cent of Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC), a government-owned company that is responsible for the finance, delivery and operation of the approximate $17 billion, 33-kilometre WestConnex tollway project.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres said unlocking value in the SMC would help to fund Stage 3 of WestConnex – the M4-M5 Link – and is in line with the government's asset recycling strategy. The M4-M5 Link involves new tunnels connecting the New M4 at Haberfield to the New M5 at St Peters, with an interchange at Rozelle.
"This is a unique opportunity to invest in the most significant road infrastructure project in the nation, in Australia's most populous state and strongest economy," Mr Perrottet said.
"Partnering with the private sector allows us to fast-track delivery and crack on with building the crucial final stage so motorists feel the full benefits of the link between the M4 and M5 as soon as possible.
"This transaction is expected to attract significant interest, including from experienced toll road operators, superannuation and pension funds, and other fund managers."
Mr Ayres said the project would do for Western Sydney what the Sydney Harbour Bridge did for the North Shore 85 years ago, creating around 10,000 jobs, reducing travel times and keeping Sydney moving.
"Construction on the project is well advanced, and now the private sector can register their interest in the SMC which will continue to finance, deliver and operate WestConnex," Mr Ayres said.
"WestConnex is projected to cut 40 minutes from an average peak journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport. Once the M4 tunnels are complete in 2019, motorists will be able to travel from Penrith to the western edge of the CBD without stopping at a single traffic light."
Qualified parties have until 13 November 2017 to register their interest. The NSW Government will retain the remaining 49 per cent of the SMC and its assets.