Pains, trains and automobiles


Instead, the new seats had to be “embedded” into the platform concrete at a cost of $78,000.

Senior Government sources have, meanwhile, confirmed a major infrastructure measure was under consideration.

“There are people pushing in Government and the ALP for us to do a major transport project,” a senior Government source said. “There’s a recognition we have to fix and address congestion in western and southwestern Sydney. [Treasurer] Eric [Roozendaal] wants to do these things but he has to do it financially and be responsible.”

Sources said senior ministers, Labor’s general secretary Sam Dastyari and powerbrokers including Eddie Obeid were pushing for the solution.

But Treasury secretary Michael Schur is understood to be trying to kill off the project.

“They [Treasury] say no to everything. Everything in this state runs along Treasury lines,” a Labor source said. “This Government needs to demonstrate now more than ever it’s serious about building infrastructure.”

The Government has faced much criticism for doing little on transport since Ms Keneally came to power except announce a light rail to the CBD in the Metropolitan Transport Plan in February. “Sam [Dastyari] has been pushing transport since day one,” one senior MP said.

One option that had been discussed and ruled out in a bid to ease urban congestion was the introduction of free public transport, but that would cost $2 billion a year. Government sources have also ruled out the construction of a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing or the Epping-to-Parramatta rail link.

Mr O’Farrell announced last month that the Coalition would set up a $5 billion infrastructure fund and spend the money on one of the two major road projects.

An M5 duplication has been costed at $4.5 billion.

The funding for “planning” for the M4 East is contained in a “NSW Treasury Project Reference Detail Report” dated June 24, which also contains $190 million for the forward estimates period for the F3 to M2 Motorway Link.

A spokesman for Ms Keneally claimed the document was based on the possibility “federal funds may in the future be available”.

At Manly Hospital, one family has taken it on themselves to prop up the ailing health system by buying $70 office chairs to furnish a nurses’ station.

A Northern Beaches father, who asked not to be named, was so distressed at seeing nurses at Manly Hospital sit on “second-hand” chairs he replaced them with brand new ones from Kmart.



37 comments on this story