17 March 2023


Thanks to all of you who've reached out to seek clarification and express your views on the Great Western Highway tunnel proposal.

To be clear:

Labor’s position is to defer the tunnel proposal for two years in a similar way to the Federal Government’s decision. This is supported by advice from Infrastructure NSW to pause this project along with several others.

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns pointed out the list of infrastructure projects that have been announced by the Coalition Government but remain unfunded.

Minns pointed out that is there is no money in budget estimates.

Instead: there is a $50B Budget black hole – and the coalition plan to fill that hole with privatisation: tolls and sell-offs (Essential Energy and Sydney Water)

This is what Minns actually said in his press conference:

We will prioritise real road improvements with a $1.1 billion roads package to fund road upgrades here in Western Sydney and in the regions.

 But when it comes to the up to the 11 km unfunded tunnel under the Blue Mountains we are not convinced that the NSW Government has properly completed its planning for this project.

 This could be an $8 - $11 billion dollar tunnel.

 It has no business case.

 And it only has $1.1 billion allocated to it in the budget.

 And let’s be clear, that does not buy you an 11 km tunnel under the Blue Mountains.

 The remaining $10 billion cannot be found. It’s not in the budget – and is completely unfunded.

So, in answer to a handful of questions I have had from Upper Mountains locals: is this project definitely off the table? NO! We would defer it and review the project in its entirety.

Paul Toole has misled the public - this tunnel has NEVER been funded. He led the public to believe that it was going ahead when NO money had been approved by his colleagues.

To recap: I have always supported the proposed tunnel in principle… Nothing has changed.

The project was already deferred by the Federal Government. We are simply aligning with that sensible position.

Last May the Independent advisors at Infrastructure NSW (INSW) recommended that the NSW Government “reconsider the timing and sequence of a number of large complex projects” and this included the central tunnel section of the GWH. The Premier then put the project ‘on ice’: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-01/nsw-government-road-projects-paused-budget-constraints/101116124

If elected, Labor will respect the expert advice of INSW to pause the proposal and consider the business case, environmental impacts, flawed consultation process AND review the residents’ concerns across the Blue Mountains before proceeding with any tunnelling.

So, just to reiterate Labor’s position: if we are elected to Government, the proposal will be deferred for two years. We will NOT cease consultation but broaden it.

Furthermore, you may not be aware that in the last few weeks the GWH tunnel proposal has been declared a controlled action requiring Commonwealth EPBC assessment and consent (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - EPBC Act).

Given this declaration, NSW Labor’s approach is more than reasonable.

I hope this provides some clarification for you. 


Trish Doyle MP

Member for Blue Mountains

5 Raymond Road, Springwood, NSW 2777

P (02) 4751 3298   |   E: [email protected]  |  Web: www.trishdoylemp.com.au