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WestConnex cash set to flow to heavily locked down Sydney regions

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The 15 LGAs receiving the government cash are: Blacktown, the Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Strathfield and Wollondilly.

Mr Perrottet said the $11.1 billion sale price “well exceeded” the reserve price set for the motorway.

Sources with knowledge of the transaction speaking on the condition of anonymity said IFM investors were also involved in the bidding, but only the Transurban consortium lodged a formal bid.

The road project has been opened in stages over the past four years. A widening of the M4 opened in July 2017, the M4 tunnels opened in July 2019, and the M8 opened in July last year.

The M4-M5 Link is expected to be open to motorists by the end of 2023 and there is a planned underground multi-level interchange at Rozelle.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns said the decision by the government to privatise the remaining 49 per cent of WestConnex would hurt the people of western Sydney.

“The people who will pay for the broken promise to sell WestConnex are those who can least afford to pay,” he said.

“When it comes to already announced essential services and infrastructure for western Sydney, they should already be funded through the budget, not through some smoke and mirrors fund.”

Having now purchased the entire WestConnex motorway, as well as holding tolling concessions on other Sydney roads including the Lane Cove Tunnel and NorthConnex, Transurban has identified the future Western Harbour Tunnel as a potential investment opportunity.

However, the company’s chief executive Scott Charlton on Monday said any decision on the sale of the second harbour tunnel was in the state government’s hands.

“It’s really up to the government to determine what kind of process, or if they want to monetise, sell them or maintain them,” he said.

“In relation to Western Harbour Tunnel or Northern Beaches, we have to look at it at the time … We don’t see it as a fait accompli that we get any asset.”

Asked on Monday whether the government would consider selling the Western Harbour Tunnel, Mr Perrottet said the government had “no future plans in relation to further asset recycling”.

Transurban will control the road until 2060. Between now and 2040, Transurban can increase tolls on the road every year by the greater of inflation (consumer price index) or 4 per cent, and then by inflation for the 20 years after that.

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