CONSTRUCTION of Parramatta Light Rail will start within months after planning approval was granted for stage 1 of the project from Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD and Camellia, the NSW Government announced last week.
"Parramatta Light Rail will connect major Western Sydney precincts for the first time and make it possible for people to 'turn up and go' to employment, cultural, entertainment and sports destinations," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
"Parramatta Light Rail will create close to 5000 jobs, connect communities along the route and transform the way that people explore all the attractions that Western Sydney has to offer, with a light rail service every 7.5 minutes in peak periods."
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said approval of stage 1 means construction on the project is on track to begin by the end of 2018, with services scheduled to commence in 2023.
"Parramatta Light Rail is part of the NSW Government's $80 billion infrastructure pipeline, which includes the largest transport infrastructure program in Australia with $43 billion of investment over the next four years," Mr Constance said.
"Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 will deliver frequent and reliable public transport not only for the people of Parramatta but for all those who come here to work, study, access essential services or to simply relax and take in a football game."
Stage 1 of Parramatta Light Rail will link Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD and Camellia, connecting key destinations including the Westmead Precinct, the new Western Sydney Stadium, the new Powerhouse Museum, three Western Sydney University campuses and new communities at Camellia and Telopea.
Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said planning approval follows extensive consultation with the community, local businesses and major stakeholders, including Westmead Hospital, the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Western Sydney University, the City of Parramatta Council, Western Sydney Business Chamber and the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce.
"People across the region have taken the time to share their feedback and we have listened, with a number of significant design changes made in response to further investigation and issues raised by stakeholders and the community," Mr Roberts said.
Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 is the first step of this major project with construction and operation contracts set to be awarded in the third quarter of 2018. The NSW Government has allocated $1 billion to Stage 1 of the project and the final cost will be known and released when contacts are signed.
A final business case for a planned Stage 2, which connects the Parramatta CBD to Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point and Sydney Olympic Park, is also due to be completed by the end of 2018.