By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
There’s been another milestone moment for the WestConnex project – Australia’s biggest road project that’s happening right here in Sydney, the engine room of the national economy.
I visited one of the construction sites at Concord where the first road header was headed underground to start work on the first WestConnex tunnel. It was impressive to see the massive excavator making its way down a ramp to the starting point for tunneling on the long-awaited M4 East. It will be one of four that will be based at the site, and will work underground in both directions to dig out 5.5km tunnels between Homebush and Haberfield.
This marks the start of work for the first stage of WestConnex, which will deliver desperately-needed infrastructure for our city’s growing population, create 10,000 jobs during construction, and deliver more than $20 billion in benefits to NSW.
It will also create a much safer and quicker way for drivers making their way around the city – particularly those currently getting stuck at the end of the M4. This first stage of WestConnex will allow them to bypass the notoriously clogged up section of Parramatta Road, bypassing 52 sets of traffic lights and cutting about 40 minutes off the typical journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport.
The M4 East will connect to a widened M4 at Homebush with connections at Concord Road, Parramatta Road and the City West Link. Once complete, WestConnex will transform Sydney by joining the M4 and M5 to create a continuous section of motorway with connections at Rozelle, Camperdown, St Peters and Sydney Airport.
This is a project that should have been built a decade ago. Sydney can’t afford to wait any longer for this road to be built and we’re working to make sure it’s open to the public as soon as possible, in 2019.
In other news, it was an honour to have the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden in New South Wales. I greeted Mr Biden and his three granddaughters at Sydney Airport and had the pleasure of accompanying him to an event at the Sydney Opera House.
During his visit, an historic agreement was signed that will open the door to greater collaboration in cancer research between New South Wales and the United States. The agreement relates to the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative announced by President Obama during his State of the Union address earlier this year, to accelerate cancer research activities.
A memorandum of understanding was signed allowing us to share our advances in cancer research with the US, with the aim of increasing our understanding of the disease as well as controlling and, hopefully one day, preventing it altogether.
As part of the agreement, the NSW Government will provide an additional $6 million into one of the most advanced cancer research projects in the southern hemisphere – a joint venture between the Children’s Medical Research Institute and Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
The state has much to offer in the fight against cancer and this agreement recognises the great work being undertaken by our scientists in the global effort to find a cure.