Sydenham Station transformed for Metro services

Sydenham Station’s multi-million-dollar transformation marks a significant milestone in the delivery of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest section of Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure project.

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott said the $301 million program of works delivered a modern first-class railway station which is ready to be integrated into the Sydney Metro system once services are running.

 “The completion of works at Sydenham highlights the progress that is being made on this once in a generation public transport project and the commitment of this government to deliver transformative infrastructure projects,” Mr Elliott said.

“The Sydney Metro is a visionary project which will revolutionise the public transport network with commuters able to catch an air-conditioned metro service every four minutes.

“These large-scale projects connect people and places, communities and businesses, while supporting future employment and population growth. They also provide a boost to the construction industry with more than 6,500 workers inducted onto the Sydenham site and more than 2.5 million total hours worked since the project started,” Mr Elliott said.

New metro platforms enables commuters easy access to interchange from metro services on platforms 1 and 2 with Sydney Trains services on other platforms.

Other features to be progressively delivered include: a new pedestrian concourse and station entrance at Burrows Avenue; new signage and wayfinding, lift access, and platform safety screen doors which make platforms safer for customers and improves travel efficiency by allowing trains to get in and out of stations much faster.

So far more than 100 metres of the total 340 metres of barriers have been installed along metro platforms, improving safety by creating a 1.7 metre barrier between the platform and the new tracks.

Major milestone for fee-free training in NSW

NSW is enjoying a fee-free training boom with more than 200,000 enrolments recorded under JobTrainer, a program helping people get skilled for in-demand jobs.
 
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government’s strong economic management means we can deliver programs such as JobTrainer to equip people with the skills they need to get their first job, a new job or a better job.
 
“The NSW Government is turbocharging the take-up of vocational education and training to create a strong pipeline of skilled and qualified workers, which is helping secure a brighter future for NSW families,” Mr Perrottet said.
 
“Our record infrastructure program is creating enormous demand for jobs and our investment in fee-free training is helping meet that demand so we can continue to build what matters to make daily life better.
 
“The success of the JobTrainer program is helping strengthen our economy, which means more money for services, community amenity and less pressure on households.”
 
Training under the program is fee-free and fully funded for eligible people wanting to upskill or reskill.
 
The NSW Government has expanded the eligibility criteria for the program to target more in-demand industries, including construction, manufacturing, transport, logistics, aged care, disability care, childcare and digital skills.
 
JobTrainer has also supported more than 5,000 women into construction-related courses through the Built for Women initiative.
 
Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said the number of people commencing apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW has sky-rocketed since the launch of the program.
 
“JobTrainer is all about helping people get the skills they need for the job they want, while helping drive our economic recovery from the pandemic,” Mr Henskens said.
 
“Whether you’re a young person exploring your career or someone wanting to re-skill for an in-demand industry, JobTrainer can provide the fee-free training to help you kick-start your journey.”
 
JobTrainer is a joint State and Federal funded program, which is injecting $637 million into the NSW skills and training market. More information about eligibility and training courses on offer is available online.

Australia’s longest road tunnel locked in for Blue Mountains

The NSW Government today confirmed the 11-kilometre toll-free tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley as the preferred option following an in-depth feasibility analysis and extensive investigation process. 
 
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the proposed central tunnel would be Australia’s longest road tunnel.
 
“This is a history-making legacy project that will deliver safer and more efficient journeys for locals, tourists and freight travelling between the Central West and the East Coast,” Mr Toole said.
 
“The tunnel will reduce congestion and improve safety for local residents, tourists and freight operators.
 
“In May last year, we started investigating plans to join the two to create the longest road tunnel in the entire country – and today, we’re locking that plan in as the preferred option.
 
“This is a complex, ambitious plan but we’re on track for shovels to hit the ground on the east and west stages of the upgrade early next year because we’re getting on with the job of building a safer, stronger road network across all parts of the state.
 
“The Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel design features dual carriageways for both eastbound and westbound motorists in separate twin tunnels and a gentler gradient to cut travel times and improve freight efficiencies.”
 
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the Blue Mountains tunnel would deliver a raft of benefits that would transform the connection between Sydney and western NSW.
 
“This tunnel project, as part of the major upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Katoomba, will help improve the economic development, productivity and accessibility in and through the Blue Mountains, Central West and Orana regions,” Mr Farraway said.
 
“It will improve the resilience of the state’s major road corridor across the Blue Mountains during traffic incidents and natural disasters and will be built to accommodate future population growth west of the Blue Mountains.
 
“The straighter alignment will improve road safety through the mountains and the tunnel will help unlock the potential of western NSW, for the benefit of all residents and businesses in this important part of the state.
 
“Once the full upgrade to the Great Western Highway is complete, it is predicted to save motorists up to 30 minutes between Katoomba and Lithgow during busy periods.
 
It’s time to make the Western Highway Great again and that is exactly what this upgrade will do.”
 
Transport for NSW will continue its program of consultation with Blue Mountains and Central West communities and the Wiradjuri, Dharug and Gundungurra communities through a series of online and face-to-face information sessions about the tunnel project in coming weeks.
 
Face-to-face information sessions for everyone in the community will be held at the Hartley Community Hall (Wednesday 18 May, 6pm-8pm), Katoomba Cultural Centre (Wednesday 25 May, 4:30pm – 8pm) and Blackheath Neighbourhood Centre (Saturday 4 June, 10am – 12pm).
 
Online sessions will be held on Monday 23 May and Thursday 9 June at 6:30pm.
 
Participants can register for all sessions through the online web portal at nswroads.work/gwheastconsult. 
 
These early information sessions precede the formal consultation which will come later in 2022 when the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel goes on exhibition.
 
At that time the community will have further opportunity to explore the design, consider the benefits and impacts of the proposal and make formals submissions which will be responded to in a submissions report.

Australia’s longest road tunnel locked in for Blue Mountains

The NSW Government today confirmed the 11-kilometre toll-free tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley as the preferred option following an in-depth feasibility analysis and extensive investigation process. 
 
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the proposed central tunnel would be Australia’s longest road tunnel.
 
“This is a history-making legacy project that will deliver safer and more efficient journeys for locals, tourists and freight travelling between the Central West and the East Coast,” Mr Toole said.
 
“The tunnel will reduce congestion and improve safety for local residents, tourists and freight operators.
 
“In May last year, we started investigating plans to join the two to create the longest road tunnel in the entire country – and today, we’re locking that plan in as the preferred option.
 
“This is a complex, ambitious plan but we’re on track for shovels to hit the ground on the east and west stages of the upgrade early next year because we’re getting on with the job of building a safer, stronger road network across all parts of the state.
 
“The Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel design features dual carriageways for both eastbound and westbound motorists in separate twin tunnels and a gentler gradient to cut travel times and improve freight efficiencies.”
 
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the Blue Mountains tunnel would deliver a raft of benefits that would transform the connection between Sydney and western NSW.
 
“This tunnel project, as part of the major upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Katoomba, will help improve the economic development, productivity and accessibility in and through the Blue Mountains, Central West and Orana regions,” Mr Farraway said.
 
“It will improve the resilience of the state’s major road corridor across the Blue Mountains during traffic incidents and natural disasters and will be built to accommodate future population growth west of the Blue Mountains.
 
“The straighter alignment will improve road safety through the mountains and the tunnel will help unlock the potential of western NSW, for the benefit of all residents and businesses in this important part of the state.
 
“Once the full upgrade to the Great Western Highway is complete, it is predicted to save motorists up to 30 minutes between Katoomba and Lithgow during busy periods.
 
It’s time to make the Western Highway Great again and that is exactly what this upgrade will do.”
 
Transport for NSW will continue its program of consultation with Blue Mountains and Central West communities and the Wiradjuri, Dharug and Gundungurra communities through a series of online and face-to-face information sessions about the tunnel project in coming weeks.
 
Face-to-face information sessions for everyone in the community will be held at the Hartley Community Hall (Wednesday 18 May, 6pm-8pm), Katoomba Cultural Centre (Wednesday 25 May, 4:30pm – 8pm) and Blackheath Neighbourhood Centre (Saturday 4 June, 10am – 12pm).
 
Online sessions will be held on Monday 23 May and Thursday 9 June at 6:30pm.
 
Participants can register for all sessions through the online web portal at nswroads.work/gwheastconsult. 
 
These early information sessions precede the formal consultation which will come later in 2022 when the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel goes on exhibition.
 
At that time the community will have further opportunity to explore the design, consider the benefits and impacts of the proposal and make formals submissions which will be responded to in a submissions report.

Great Western Highway upgrade to deliver jobs bonanza

The NSW Government has announced the Great Western Highway upgrade will support an additional 1,400 jobs, taking the total number of FTEs to be supported by the project during construction to 3,900.
 
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the increased jobs figure was a major win for local residents and business operators in Lithgow, the Blue Mountains and surrounds.
 
“We have a new jobs figure for this mammoth project – 3,900 jobs at the peak of construction, which will bolster the building industry here locally for the next decade,” MrToole said.
 
“The history-making Great Western Highway upgrade between Katoomba and Lithgow, featuring the country’s longest ever road tunnel, offers a unique opportunity to develop local skills that will deliver economic benefits for many years to come.
 
“It means thousands of workers will be able to drive this highway once complete, knowing they’ve helped deliver one of the most important road upgrades in our State’s history to ensure safer, faster trips between the Central West and East Coast.
 
“The NSW Government is delivering a record $110.4 billion infrastructure pipeline, building the projects that improve the daily lives of families and creating thousands of jobs.”
 
NSW Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Sam Farraway said the government is focused on creating local employment pathways and upskilling local workforces.
 
“We are collaborating with industry and training providers to train up local people, to grow the local construction workforce and to leave a skills legacy that will endure far beyond the life of the upgrade program,” Mr said.
 
“Last month we hosted an industry briefing at Lithgow Workers’ Club to give local businesses an insight into the exciting opportunities available to them.
 
“This included requirements they must meet to be part of the upgrade program and, in turn, how the upgrade program will drive economic growth and provide opportunities for local people and businesses.
 
“NSW is building the longest tunnel in the country – it’s record breaking, it’s history making and will revolutionise travel from the east to the west.
 
“It’s time to make the Western Highway Great again and that is exactly what this upgrade will do.”
 
The upgrade will support more than 3,900 full time employees during the peak five-year construction period from 2022-23 to 2026-27.

Free Program to Accelerate Digital Skills for Tourism Operations

The NSW Government is launching a Digital Skills Accelerator for Tourism program to help NSW tourism businesses transform their online marketing.

Destination NSW has partnered with digital consultancy Tourism Tribe to offer the free program to accommodation providers, tour companies and visitor attractions.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Tourism and Sport and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the program would provide customised digital health checks to ensure businesses optimise their websites, improve their online listings and grow their Facebook and Instagram channels.

“The Digital Skills Accelerator for Tourism program is part of the NSW First Program, delivered by Destination NSW to assist businesses across the state to develop, promote and sell great visitor experiences,” Mr Ayres said.

“Digital innovation is crucial to success in the contemporary tourism landscape. Helping businesses in the visitor economy to improve their digital competency is a key pillar of the NSW Government’s Visitor Economy Strategy 2030, which aims to make NSW the premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”

In addition to a customised digital health check report, successful applicants will also receive two, one-hour consultation sessions with a digital advisor and access to a course library to help improve their knowledge and digital skills.

The program complements NSW First Program content, which includes ‘how to’ guides, resources and on-demand webinars for tourism businesses.

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours owner Mr Clark Webb said the NSW First program played a vital role in helping his business define its product and how to get it into the market.

“The support that we received from Destination NSW helped get our business to where it is today. We have really valued the opportunity to take part in the NSW First program,” Mr Webb said.

Mr Webb welcomed the decision to add the Digital Skills Accelerator program to NSW First.

“Most small business owners run both the operational and the digital side of their business. Improving the digital skills of tourism operators will ensure better outcomes for the entire visitor economy. I always feel we can learn more in this area as it’s so vast.”

The Digital Skills Accelerator for Tourism program will be open to 150 tourism businesses in NSW.

To review eligibility criteria and apply, visit: www.tourismtribe.com/programs/dnsw2022/

Learn more about Destination NSW’s NSW First Program here: https://www.destinationnsw.com.au/tourism/business-development-resources/nsw-first-workshops-program

Tradeswomen leading the way

Female apprentices want more women to try their hand in a traditional trade to increase women in the construction sector.
 
Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said the NSW Government is investing in fee-free and low-fee apprenticeships and traineeships to help address industry needs, including Built for Women, a program designed to boost female participation.
 
“We want to make it easier for women to access the skills they need for a first job, a new job, or a better job,” Mr Henskens said.
 
“The NSW Government’s infrastructure investment is providing great opportunities for women to pick up the tools and enter a dynamic and rewarding industry.”
 
Recently released data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research shows that female apprentice and trainee numbers are booming across the state, with a 91 per cent surge in commencements in the year to September 2021.
 
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the Built for Women program has supported close to 5,000 free training places for women in trade-related work, including construction, manufacturing, engineering, transport and logistics.
 
“Greater diversity makes our workplaces stronger and a secure and fulfilling future awaits women who choose a career in trades,” Mrs Taylor said.
 
Shani Staples is studying a Certificate III in Plumbing at TAFE NSW Mount Druitt and is one woman paving the way for more females to break into trade industries.
 
“The plumbing industry is incredibly rewarding and offers a hands-on environment which is fast-paced and no two days are the same,” Ms Staples said.
 
“Many people are unaware of the scope of work that a plumbing trade covers, so if a trade is something you’ve ever considered, now is the time to give it a go.”

Flood recovery grants fast-tracked

Sole traders will now have their applications streamlined for the Disaster Recovery Small Business Grant, providing up to $50,000 to help them recover following the unprecedented flooding.
 
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the application process for the grant has been simplified to help deliver financial support sooner.
 
“We know our flood-affected communities need help now and that is why we are constantly looking for ways to speed up the grant approval  process,” Mr Toole said.
 
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said the change will allow Service NSW to process applications quicker by cutting down the paperwork for sole traders and getting money into their hands faster.
 
“While sole traders have always been eligible for the grant, in-line with previous grant programs they have needed additional documentation to other small businesses. The changes, which take effect from today, mean that applications can now be initially approved based on statutory declarations,” Mr Dominello said.
 
“Grants are just one of a range of packages targeted at helping flood-affected communities in the Northern Rivers recover and rebuild as quickly as possible.”
 
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the Commonwealth and NSW governments are jointly delivering more than $3 billion in flood recovery support.
 
“We will continue to work with the Australian Government to provide flood-affected communities with the support they need to bounce back from this unprecedented disaster,” Ms Cooke said.
 
“We know a significant number of sole traders are based in regional communities, so cutting red tape in the application process for the Disaster Recovery Small Business Grant will mean money gets out the door sooner.”
 
The Disaster Recovery Small Business Grant is available in 60 local government areas and is being jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
 
For further information or to lodge your statutory declaration, visit the Service NSW website or call 13 77 88.

$20 million in electric vehicle charging grants to drive regional tourism

Up to 3500 electric vehicle (EV) chargers will be rolled out across regional NSW, with the NSW Government offering $20 million in grants to establish Australia’s largest destination charging network.
 
Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the co-funded grants, ranging from $2000 to $40,000 per site for EV chargers across regional NSW, would boost regional tourism and were part of a $171 million investment in EV charging over the next four years.
 
“EVs are growing in popularity and this will help ensure our regional areas have the charging stations needed to welcome EV-driving visitors,” Mr Kean said.
 
The EV destination charging grants will be offered on a co-funded basis for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargers in regional areas, which can provide a top-up of up to 130km of range in an hour.
 
A range of destinations across regional NSW can apply for the grants, including motels, wineries, cafes, restaurants, natural attractions, visitor information centres, museums and zoos.
 
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said a series of EV tourist drives would also be developed across the state to promote EV travel across regional NSW, following the rollout of the EV chargers.
 
“This will grow local economies and support small businesses in areas impacted by Covid, bushfires and floods,” Mr Farraway said.
 
The NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy aims to increase EV sales to 52 per cent of all new car sales by 2030-31, and the vast majority by 2035. 
 
Funding under the strategy also includes a $131 million investment for ultra-fast charging infrastructure and a $20 million investment in EV charging in commuter car parks, creating a world class charging network across the state.
 
The EV destination charging grants can be used for the purchase and installation of select electric vehicle (EV) chargers as well as software to tap into the smart capabilities of each charger. This includes:

  • 75 per cent towards buying up to four alternating current (AC) destination chargers per site location
  • 75 per cent towards charger installation (capped at $1000 per charger)
  • 50 per cent towards a two-year charger software subscription

 
Eligible destinations can apply for the grants online here.

$220 million for Epping Road bridge upgrade

A re-elected Morrison Government will partner with the Perrottet Government to deliver a $220 million upgrade to Epping Bridge, to relieve congestion and improve safety for commuters across Bennelong.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investment highlighted how the Commonwealth and NSW were working together to deliver the infrastructure Sydney needed.

“This is going to mean quicker travel through a usually congested part of Epping,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our plan for a strong economy means we can invest in the roads and infrastructure our communities need.

“These upgrades will deliver on a key plank of Simon Kennedy’s plan to deliver a stronger future for the Bennelong community.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the upgrade was part of a major investment in transport infrastructure in the area to support current and future growth, with the upgrade of Epping Railway Station complemented by the new Sydney Metro Northwest.

“This project will help relieve traffic congestion in the area as well as improve access and connectivity through Epping Town Centre,” Premier Perrottet said.

“Our strong economic management has allowed us to invest in key infrastructure projects like the Epping Road Bridge upgrade that make it easier for NSW families get to and from where they need to faster.”

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the upgrade, which would be funded on a 50:50 basis between the Commonwealth and State, would help ease congestion along the busy transport corridor.

“Epping Road is not just a major route to the Sydney CBD but also a major access road to the commercial, industrial and university areas of North Ryde and Macquarie Park, which is why this project is so important to provide better connections for commuters,” Minister Fletcher said.

“The upgrade will include widening the bridge with an additional westbound lane and wider footpaths over the rail line near Epping Railway Station, which will help alleviate congestion at this pinch point.

“We know that congestion is an issue for people in Bennelong, which is why we’re investing in infrastructure projects like this one, so that people spend less time in traffic on the way to work or the school drop off, and more time at home with loved ones or productively at work.”

NSW Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said the project will provide a much-needed overhaul to one of Sydney’s busiest intersections.

“A number of intersection upgrades have been completed in this area to help alleviate the traffic congestion experienced as a result of rapid growth, but this critical work on Epping Bridge is needed to address the remaining choke point,” Minister Ward said.

“We are committed to focusing on improving the daily commute across our road network so drivers can spend more time with their families and less time in traffic.”

Federal Liberal candidate for Bennelong Simon Kennedy said the project was an “absolute game changer” for commuters across Bennelong and north west Sydney.

“Traffic congestion is one of the top concerns that was been raised with me across the electorate,” Mr Kennedy said.

“I thank the Prime Minister and the Premier for listening to the concerns of the people of Bennelong and putting forward this significant investment to fix Epping Bridge.

“I am committed to spending every day of my political life listening to the people of Bennelong and fighting for them to deliver outcomes for our community.”

For more information, go to nswroads.work.