O'Farrell quizzed on freight hub

THE proposed freight terminal at Moorebank was a topic of hot debate during Premier Barry O'Farrell's western Sydney forum at Hunts Comfort Inn Casula on Monday night.

For two hours, Mr O'Farrell, flanked by a group of his cabinet ministers, took questions on a range of topics from an audience of about 450.

One resident raised concerns about extra traffic he said was likely to be generated if the Moorebank freight terminal went ahead.

He told Mr O'Farrell there were already 163,000 people travelling through east Liverpool every day because there was no access to the east from the Macarthur area. The man said he feared this would get worse and would cause gridlock on the roads if the terminal went ahead.

Mr O'Farrell said his understanding was that the terminal was not going to work unless it was supported by better connections to and from the M5.

"What I did do a month ago in a discussion with the federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister was make that point — what was needed was a commitment from that federal government to deliver the infrastructure to make it work because of better connections with the M5," he said.

"That is my position and that's what I'm arguing with the federal government about."

Another attendee said she was concerned because Casula Public School was less than a kilometre from the proposed terminal.

"Anyone living within five kilometres of the intermodal will be affected health-wise," she said. "I have three children who attend Casula Public School and it concerns me that your building it so close to the school, which has 800 children under 12."

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard pledged that the problems would be dealt with in a transparent way.

"I promise you we are doing everything we can and that means that those health issues, the scientific issues — all the issues that need to be considered — will be balanced," he said.

Other concerns raised included the need for more jobs in western Sydney.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said her department was "creating literally thousands of jobs in the transport sector".

The need for more parking in Cabramatta and at Holsworthy station was also raised, as well as the future of key programs such as the early intervention program and a placement prevention and a community builders program.

Concerns about Badgerys Creek were also raised.

Mr O'Farrell said he agreed with the residents.

He said the federal government had to come up with a commitment to help deliver the infrastructure to make it work.

"It's always been a federal governemnt decision whether to proceed or not and what the state government should do is say well if you go down a certain path it comes with a commitment to deliver the infrastructure to make it work and that's what I'm trying to do," he said.

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