First Reading


Bill introduced on motion by Mr Andrew Constance, read a first time and printed.


Second Reading Speech


Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE ( Bega—Minister for Transport and Infrastructure) (16:13): I move:


That this bill be now read a second time.


I am very pleased to introduce the Transport Administration Amendment (Sydney Metro) Bill 2018. 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. After 16 long years of neglect under Labor, where the people of New South Wales were promised 12 rail lines—of which only half of one line was actually delivered—had nine transport master plans and six transport Ministers, this Government has gotten on with the job of actually building tomorrow’s Sydney, because Sydney Metro is a game changer for Sydney, revolutionising the way we get around our great global city for generations to come.


Australia has seen nothing like this new metro system before, so the time is right to take the great work done by the Sydney Metro Delivery Office and transform it into an enduring statutory corporation overseen by an expert decision-making board. The bill will support the delivery of the biggest urban rail infrastructure investment in Australia’s history and allow Sydney to get maximum benefits from what will be one of the world’s great metro rail systems.


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.


It will not be long before we see the first metro services delivered in the north-west. Indeed, more than 94 per cent of rail track is already laid and the first of 22 metro trains was delivered last year, and testing is currently being done on commissioning systems including brakes, passenger information displays, and light and door operations. Sydney Metro Northwest will be just the beginning of this world-class metro system. It will be extended from the north-west, under Sydney Harbour, through new underground stations at the central business district [CBD], and beyond to Bankstown in 2024. The first of five mega tunnel boring machines for the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project will be in the ground before the end of the year.


In 2024 Sydney will have 31 metro stations and 66 kilometres of new metro rail. Sydney’s new metro trains will run every four minutes at full operational mode in the north-west and there will be an ultimate capacity to run a metro train every two minutes each way under the centre of Sydney with the further extension of metro services to Bankstown by 2024. This is a level of service never before seen in Australia. I am also pleased to confirm that planning is well underway for the Sydney Metro West project, which will provide a new direct underground metro link between Sydney CBD and Parramatta. It will also service key precincts at Olympic Park and the Bays Precinct. Detailed community and industry consultations are currently underway on further station locations for Sydney Metro West.


I also recently announced that one of the major milestones for the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project has been achieved with the commencement of the Central Station upgrade works. New metro platforms will be delivered under Central Station as well as the landmark east section of Central Walk, a new underground pedestrian concourse to help customers get around Sydney’s busiest railway station. This is the first step in the renewal of Central Station, creating a new pedestrian gateway to Chalmers Street and better linking the suburban rail network. These will be the biggest improvements to Central Station in decades and will ensure the metro system is fully integrated with other transport modes, including trains, light rail and buses. It will open up the “rabbit warren” that is currently Central Station to provide seamless passenger services for the over 400,000 commuters expected to be using Central Station by 2036.


I am pleased to say that safety has always been one of the Government’s key concerns when it comes to the delivery of Sydney Metro. Importantly, Sydney Metro, and its subcontractors, will be subject to the Rail Safety National Law (NSW) and oversight by the National Rail Safety Regulator. Sydney Metro will be required to have a safety management system in place under the Rail Safety National Law (NSW) and will be required to have other management plans including a security management plan and an emergency management plan. In addition, as a public transport agency under the Transport Administration Act 1988, Sydney Metro will be required to exercise its functions in accordance with the objectives and service delivery priorities of the Act as a whole, which include providing safe transport services in accordance with an appropriate safety regulatory framework.


Further to this, one of Sydney Metro’s express objectives will be to deliver safe and reliable metro passenger services. Sydney Metro will also be subject to directions issued by Transport for NSW and the Minister. These directions are an important means by which transport agencies are required to align with Transport for NSW policies. The fact that Sydney Metro is using the most cutting-edge technology is a further demonstration of our commitment to safety. Metro technology that is being used in Australia for the first time includes platform screen doors, barriers, and doors which keep people and objects like prams away from tracks and allow trains to get in and out of stations much faster whilst also providing the maximum safety for passengers.


Sydney Metro will be Australia’s first fully-automated rail system. Expert rail controllers will monitor the entire system from a brand new operations centre. Each train will have 38 security cameras inside, including on the front and back of the trains. Inside the train, you will be able to see from one end to the other, which provides a significant security benefit. The state-of-the-art signalling and communications systems will control the trains, the tunnels, the tracks, the platforms, the platform screen doors and the skytrain to ensure we deliver a safe and reliable journey to our customers. All these systems will be talking to each other and controlled by the expert train controllers back in the operations centre.


We need to focus on more than just the first day of operations of Sydney Metro. We want great outcomes for all of Sydney for generations to come from this $20 billion-plus investment. The Sydney Metro Board will have skills and experience relevant to the administration of Sydney Metro, to maximise Government’s already significant investment in the metro and future growth. The proposed role and composition of the board is intended to attract and leverage appropriate local and global expertise to assist the business in exercising its functions. Establishing the Sydney Metro as a dedicated statutory corporation is a demonstration of this Government’s commitment to delivering world-class, customer centred transport services to meet the needs of the community, both now and into the future.


Importantly, Sydney Metro will be owned by the New South Wales Government and will be part of the Government’s transport cluster, operating as a transport agency similar to Sydney Trains, NSW Trains, and Roads and Maritime Services. This means the Sydney Metro Delivery Office, which has been working successfully as part of Transport for NSW since 2011, will be transitioned into the new corporation. The Government announced in 2014 that passenger services on the Metro Northwest system will be operated by the private sector under a public-private partnership. It is intended that Sydney Metro fares will be set and controlled by the New South Wales Government in the same way as the rest of the public transport fares are set. Importantly, to ensure full integration with the current transport network, the Opal card ticketing system will apply to Sydney Metro.


Sydney Metro will also have an important role to play in relation to “place making” in the precincts that will be serviced by the Metro. In order to ensure transport and land use planning are truly integrated, and to enable Sydney Metro to play an effective place-making role, Sydney Metro will be empowered to assist planning and transport authorities in preparing strategic plans for the revitalisation of land in the locality of Sydney Metro. Sydney Metro will provide the catalyst for the revitalisation of vibrant and active local communities. Sydney Metro will be tasked with working across Government to lead the delivery of a world-class metro system focused on customers and great local places driving the State’s economic growth well into the future.


Turning to the bill, schedule 1 amends the Transport Administration Act 1988 to establish Sydney Metro as a standalone statutory corporation, which is a New South Wales Government agency—I reiterate that it is a New South Wales Government agency. Clause 38A of the bill sets out the principal objectives of Sydney Metro being the delivery of safe and reliable metro passenger services in an efficient, effective and financially responsible manner and to facilitate and carry out the orderly and efficient revitalisation of land in the locality of metro stations, depots and stabling yards. Under clause 38B of the bill, Sydney Metro will be enabled to design, construct, develop and operate metro passenger services. It will also be expressly authorised to assist relevant planning and transport authorities in preparing strategic and other plans for the revitalisation of precincts in the locality of the metro. This will ensure truly integrated transport and land use planning at the local level.


The bill further contains provisions to assist Sydney Metro with its place-making functions. Sydney Metro will be authorised to carry out, finance, manage and otherwise participate in residential, retail, commercial, industrial, mixed-use development, community, open space and recreational facilities on land in the locality of metro stations, depots and stabling yards. This will ensure the Sydney metro system is fully integrated into, and forms part of, local communities, providing maximum opportunities for people to work, rest and play close to home, in line with the three cities concept set out in the Greater Sydney Commission’s Greater Sydney Region Plan.


The bill also contains provisions to ensure Sydney Metro remains under the control of government in future. Clause 38B (3) ensures that whilst Sydney Metro can acquire, build and dispose of metro assets, the metro system itself cannot be disposed of by Sydney Metro. This is evidence of this Government’s commitment to ensuring the benefits of the Sydney Metro system remain available for future generations. Sydney Metro will be subject to the requirements for closure and disposal of railway lines under section 99A of the Transport Administration Act 1988.


Where land is required in order to build Sydney Metro and its associated transport infrastructure, it may be necessary for Sydney Metro to acquire privately owned land.


As with all major infrastructure projects, compulsory acquisition remains a necessary part of development. Appropriately, Sydney Metro will have the same compulsory acquisition powers as Transport for NSW in relation to the transport infrastructure component of the metro. This means that Sydney Metro may, for the purposes of exercising its curtained Transport related functions, acquire land by compulsory process in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.


I remind the House that this Government made important changes to the property acquisition process in 2016 following reviews undertaken by David Russell, QC, and the then Customer Service Commissioner Michael Pratt, AM. Our Government has implemented 17 of the 20 review recommendations, including the establishment of the Centre for Property Acquisition. The centre provides guidance, training and communications materials to ensure acquiring authorities treat residents affected by property acquisition with respect and empathy throughout the process. This means ensuring residents have access to an appropriately trained point of contact, usually a personal manager, to guide them through the acquisition process providing greater transparency by ensuring communication is clear and provided in a timely manner, and managing all acquisition data through the whole-of-government database acquisition hub.


Sydney Metro will continue to act in accordance with the new whole-of-government acquisition standards developed by the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and the supporting guidelines and procedures developed by the Centre for Property Acquisition. Clause 38D of the bill authorises Sydney Metro to additionally acquire land by agreement with owners in the locality of a metro station, depot or stabling yard where it is needed for the purposes of carrying out, financing, managing or otherwise participating in residential, retail, commercial, industrial, mixed use development, community, public open space or recreational purposes.


An organisation charged with end to end responsibility for the development and ongoing operation of Sydney’s metro system into the future needs to have best practice governance arrangements in place. That is why clause 38F of the bill provides for the establishment of an expertise-based board to oversee Sydney Metro’s functions. Clause 38G provides that the board will be specifically responsible for determining Sydney Metro’s policies and ensuring that the organisation performs its functions properly and efficiently. The bill includes appropriate governance arrangements for the constitution and procedures of the Sydney Metro Board. These will be set out in schedule 2B of the Transport Administration Act 1988.


Consistent with best practice governance arrangements, board directors will be required to make pecuniary interest disclosures so that any conflicts of interest can be appropriately managed. Under clause 381 of the bill, the chief executive will be responsible for the day to day management of Sydney Metro, subject to the policies and directions of the board. Importantly, as part of its governance arrangements, Sydney Metro will be required to prepare annual corporate plans. Appropriately, clause 38L of the bill requires these plans to include specific targets and criteria for the purpose of assessing Sydney Metro’s performance over time.


To ensure the community has an opportunity to have its say, draft corporate plans will be subject to public consultation. Clause 38L requires Sydney Metro to take account of any public submissions made in response to a draft before it is finalised. Once adopted, Sydney Metro will be required to exercise its functions in accordance with its corporate plan. Importantly, the Sydney Metro Board will also be able to set up advisory committees to help inform its decision-making.


Finally, schedule 2 of the bill makes consequential amendments to other Acts that are necessary to support the establishment of Sydney Metro. There are amendments to the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to ensure Sydney Metro is required to prepare financial reports in accordance with that Act and be subject to annual audit by the Auditor-General. This is one of the key accountability mechanisms applying to statutory authorities. As with any other public authority, Sydney Metro will be subject to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.


Let there be no doubt, Sydney Metro will be a game changer for Sydney. It will not only transform the way we travel around this great global city, it will also change the way we work, live and play by providing truly integrated, world-class transport to vibrant and active communities. It is time to look to the future and to realise Sydney Metro’s true potential to help manage Sydney’s growth moving forward. I commend the bill to the House.


Debate adjourned.