Plan to 'future proof' Sydney with Metro: Perrottet
Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended the progress of the government's planned western Sydney Metro lines, while criticising Labor's election promise to halt work on part of the rail project.
The coalition last month said it was starting the $260 million process of delivering four new Metro lines at Tallawong to St Marys, Westmead to the Aerotropolis near Badgerys Creek, Bankstown to Glenfield via Liverpool, and Macarthur to the Aerotropolis.
Labor, meanwhile, says it will cease the business cases for two of the Metro lines - the link to the new western Sydney airport and Bankstown to Glenfield - if it forms government later this month, citing cost blowouts.
Campaigning in Rouse Hill on Wednesday, Mr Perrottet stood by the timeline on the transport links, part of the Sydney Metro network that started with the Chatswood to Tallawong northwest line in 2019, saying "we have to future proof western Sydney".
"These are projects that make a real difference," the premier told reporters.
"You can't build them all at once," he said, labelling Labor's plan to scrap part of the system as "short-sighted".
Labor has vowed to deliver rapid bus services to connect Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith to the new Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis precinct, promising to procure 84 buses - to be built in western Sydney - for the services, committing $305 million over three years.
Speaking in Leppington, Opposition Leader Chris Minns contrasted Labor's "gamechanger" solution with a situation where the Aerotropolis would open without public transport links to several suburbs in southwest Sydney.
The coalition's Metro plans were unrealistic, Mr Minns said, given how much they would cost, suggesting they would be funded by privatisation, including of Sydney Water.
"We know it will be funded as a result of privatisation," he said.
Mr Perrottet hit back, saying the coalition was already planning to "bring on" buses for the new airport, describing the Labor plan as "short-term thinking".
"You don't say 'I'm going to cancel the future of public transport for western Sydney because we're bringing on buses on in 2026'," he said.
"We are committed to a transport revolution."
This week the premier finally ruled out privatising any more government assets to fund future projects, after being dogged by the question for weeks.
But Labor remains sceptical.
The transport spat comes amid a new poll, published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, pointing to a clear Labor victory at the March 25 election.
The Resolve Political Monitor survey of 803 voters found Labor's primary vote had lifted one percentage point to 38 per cent, while the coalition's had dropped two points to 32 per cent
With 93 seats up for grabs, the data points to an overall swing of seven per cent to Labor - enough to deliver the 47 seats required to form a majority government.
However, Mr Perrottet remains the preferred premier over Mr Minns, at 38 per cent to 34 per cent.
Some 76 per cent of voters polled said they were committed to who they planned to vote for, while 24 per cent remained uncertain.
"Polling's going to come and go, this election will come down to the wire, it's absolutely going to be a nail-biter," Mr Minns said.
The premier and Mr Minns will square off in a leaders' debate on Thursday at Rosehill Racecourse, focused on issues impacting western Sydney.