M5 East Maintenance Schedules
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Roads, Minister for Economic Reform, Minister for Ports, and Minister for the Hunter. Is the Minister aware of a memo dated 7 January 2005 from M5 East maintenance manager, Iain Cox, to Balderstone-Hornibrook advising that BHEgis has incorporated its quarterly maintenance requirements to fit in with Alstom-planned closure dates, which have been scheduled to avoid parliamentary sitting dates? What action will the Minister take to ensure that maintenance schedules for the M5 East are not designed around deceiving members of Parliament, but are designed to ease the pressure on unfortunate commuters who have to face the daily peak-hour nightmare of what is surely one of the great monumental planning disasters of the Carr Labor Government? In fact, it is Scully's funnel!
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: One of the most monumental planning disasters of all time is probably the airport link. I have made that comment on many occasions.
The Hon. Charlie Lynn: That's tomorrow's question. Answer today's.
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: That is right. The member should not cast aspersions on a highly utilised and extremely popular piece of road infrastructure. I use it, and I am very thankful it exists because it is a good piece of infrastructure. But I invite the Hon. Charlie Lynn to talk about the airport link, because we are still paying for that disaster. The matter that has been raised, as I understand it, relates to a contracting dispute between the two parties mentioned. I do not intend to go into the detail of the matter. I note, however, that at the time questions were raised about this matter. A spokesperson for the M5 East operating company made the point that there is no scheduling around parliamentary sessions. I have to take that advice; in other words, I believe that to be the case.
The Hon. Duncan Gay: They wouldn't be able to do any maintenance if they waited for sitting days from you blokes.
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: A member of the Opposition asked the question. On the one hand, an Opposition member is saying we do not sit enough and therefore no maintenance is carried out and, on the other hand, another Opposition member is saying that maintenance has been adjusted because we sit so often. The Nationals need to sit down and work out their relationship with the Liberals in order to achieve some co-ordination with regard to the form of questions to be asked. The fact of the matter is that this matter was clarified by a spokesperson for the M5 East operating company.