Hansard for Thursday 21 November 2013, viewed Wednesday 27 November 2013$File/LC20131121.pdf

26192 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 21 November 2013


Dr MEHREEN FARUQI: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Will the Minister explain to the House whether he supports the costly and unnecessary demolition of the historic Glebe Island Bridge instead of the more sustainable option of preserving and adaptively reusing it for public transport, active transport or other purposes?

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: What I support is a proper dialogue on what needs to happen and a proper dialogue that includes the community. There are two distinct processes at play as to the future of Glebe Island Bridge. First, there is the independent report on the costs and benefits of retaining the bridge which is currently underway and being conducted by ACIL Allen Consulting. This report was commissioned by Transport for NSW following the recommendations of the Bays Precinct Taskforce—hardly a part of the New South Wales Government if one looks at its members—that a comprehensive analysis be conducted of the costs and benefits of retaining versus removing the bridge.

Public submissions on this report closed on 15 November so it has not been a secret government document. The report has been out there for community consultation before Dr Mehreen Faruqi read about it in the Sydney Morning Herald, where she gets all her information. The report had been out there and the public had been considering submissions. Transport for NSW is now considering submissions in consultation with the Bays Precinct Implementation Committee and will make a recommendation on the future of the bridge for the Government's consideration in 2014. The second process is the listing of the bridge on the heritage register.

The Hon. Penny Sharpe: Why aren't you talking to Robyn?

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: There is a question before the House. Do you want to hear the answer or do you just want to blurt on like you normally do? You might get it right for a change if you listen.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister should ignore the interjections, difficult though that might be at times.

The Hon. Penny Sharpe: I always get it right.

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: That is not what Gladys says. The second process is the listing of the bridge on the heritage register following the recommendation by the Heritage Council of New South Wales to the Minister for Heritage. Under the Heritage Act the decision on whether to list the bridge focuses on its heritage value. Clearly heritage is one part, a very important part, of the decision on whether to retain or remove the bridge. Other factors also need to be taken into account, including safety, the environment, economics and public amenity.

21 November 2013 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 26193

That has been my position and one that I notice the Bays Precinct Implementation Committee is working towards. There have been a number of vessel incidents in the vicinity of the bridge including, sadly, a recent fatality. In addition, the quality of water in Blackwattle Bay is not as good as it could be because it cannot be flushed properly due to the current configuration of the structure. A final decision on the future of the bridge will not be made until Transport for NSW and the Bays Precinct Implementation Committee report back to Government. This report will take into account all factors associated with retaining versus removing the bridge.

Heritage will be one of the factors considered. I believe heritage listing should be considered but only after a full investigation of the other options is on the table to enable an informed decision to be made.

Gazettal of State Heritage Listing

RMS Listing

State Heritage Register