Funding to plan the long-awaited M9 motorway will be included in the state government’s 2017-18 budget.
But the amount put aside to get the ball rolling on the project has been labelled a “sick joke” by Chifley MP Ed Husic.
The Berejiklian government will allocate more than $1 billion for road projects across western Sydney in the budget.
Among funding to relieve congestion and prepare roads for the construction of Western Sydney Airport, the budget will allocate $2 million to plan the Outer Sydney Orbital – also known as the M9.
It has also set aside $21 million to plan the M12 motorway, which would connect the M7 to the Northern Road and service the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek.
Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies welcomed the move, saying the funding would ensure roads met the demand of a growing population.
“This is fantastic news for the local community,” Ms Davies said.
“By 2031 more than half of all new jobs in Sydney will be created in Western Sydney, so we’re getting ahead to ensure road users and workers are connected with jobs across the region.
“More than 845,000 journeys to work start and end in western Sydney and we want to ensure our roads will be able to cope with the unprecedented growth this region will experience in the coming years.”
Mr Husic said construction of the M9 – which would run west of the M7 from Box Hill in the north to Macarthur in the south – was “absolutely critical” for western Sydney.
“It would open the land up between the M7 and the M9 and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process,” he said.
“With the population boom expected in areas like Marsden Park, if we don’t have another outlet Richmond Road will become the Parramatta Road in our part of the world.”
Mr Husic remained skeptical that the state government’s funding would lead anywhere.
The project was floated by the government in 2014 but no progress has since been made.
“It’s a sick joke to put $2 million towards this project,” he said.
“It’s been a feature for Liberal governments for three years but nothing has been done.
“This wouldn’t even get a kerb built. It’s not a fair dinkum investment.
“I would also challenge them to build this without a toll. If they can find the money for all these other projects, they can make the M9 toll-free.”