This week, on 10 April 2018, the New South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance introduced the Transport Administration Amendment (Sydney Metro) Bill 2018 (NSW) (the “Bill”) into the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. The purpose of the Bill was outlined by Mr Constance in his second reading speech:
“The purpose of the bill is to amend the Transport Administration Act 1988 to establish Sydney Metro as a standalone transport agency and statutory corporation, charged with end to end responsibility for the delivery and operation of Sydney's world class metro system. In this way, Sydney Metro will play a critical role in delivering whole-of-government strategies and policies, including the Future Transport Strategy 2056, Infrastructure NSW's State Infrastructure Strategy and the Greater Sydney Commission's Greater Sydney Region Plan and District Plans.“
The Sydney Metro system is being introduced as part of the NSW Future Transport Strategy 2056, which aims to “harness technology to improve customer and network outcomes” (p 2). Part of this plan is the improvement of NSW public transport to accommodate the foreseen increase in population by 2056. As such, the Metro system is proposed as an initiative by the Government to revolutionise public transport in the city.
The vision behind the new Sydney Metro system was described by Mr Constance in the second reading speech:
“Sydney Metro is the centrepiece of the New South Wales Government's vision for Sydney's future. Since 2015, the Greater Sydney Commission has been leading metropolitan planning for the Greater Sydney region, with a focus on aligning infrastructure decision-making and land use planning, while also promoting the supply of housing and supporting improvement in productivity, livability and environmental quality of our great city. Sydney's new metro network will deliver the necessary step change in rail infrastructure to deliver our vision for Sydney's three 30-minute cities.
By providing safe, fast, frequent, turn-up-and-go services 24/7, Sydney Metro will make Sydney an easier and quicker place to get around and destinations across the city more accessible. This rapid transport solution will be complemented by a range of other transport solutions and investments underway, as detailed in the Government's Future Transport Strategy. This strategy recognises that transport is an enabler of economic and social activity and contributes to the long-term economic, social and environmental outcomes of the State. Sydney Metro delivers on every outcome identified in the Future Transport Strategy, including customer focus, successful places, growing the economy, safety and performance, accessible services and sustainability.
As noted in the Future Transport Strategy, Sydney Metro is Australia's first fully automated metro system, using technology that has been in operation on metro railways around the world. Sydney Metro is much more than just a state-of-the-art railway system. It will provide future mass transit, high frequency, high capacity metro passenger services using cutting edge technology. These technological advances will not only change the way services are delivered in future; they will also revolutionise the passenger experience. Customers will not need timetables on Sydney Metro; they will just turn up and go. New world-class metro services will start before we know it. In the first half of next year, services will begin in the north-west. Sydney Metro Northwest will provide eight new stations, with a further five existing stations being upgraded. There will also be an additional 4,000 new commuter car spaces to support the metro system.”
The major amendments proposed by the Bill are those to the Transport Administration Act 1988 (NSW) (the “Act”). These amendments, contained in schedule 1 of the Bill, aim to achieve the objective of facilitating “the development, implementation and operation of a metro in Sydney by constituting Sydney Metro as a corporation and to provide generally for the corporation’s management and functions” (explanatory note, page 1).
As such, the Bill inserts a new Part 3D into the Act (see schedule 1, section 10) which outlines the formulation and implementation of the Sydney Metro system. In this new part, section 38A provides for the “objectives of Sydney Metro”. These are:
The remainder of the proposed Part 38A develops the functions, management and financial provisions relating to Sydney Metro.
Schedule 2 of the Bill proposes to make various other amendments to other Acts with the objective of developing and implementing Sydney Metro.
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Transport Administration Amendment (Sydney Metro) Bill 2018 (NSW), and explanatory material available on TimeBase's LawOne service.
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