Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has pledged a Labor government would investigate the possibility of extending the proposed Blue Mountains road tunnel to Medlow Bath.
"The Upper Mountains' Great Western Highway works are already in planning, and the NSW Government's investigation of the road tunnel upgrade from Hartley to the eastern side of Blackheath has raised concerns for Medlow Bath residents," said the Labor MP.
"Labor would look to ensure all options for this project - including the potential for a continued tunnel under Medlow Bath - are properly investigated, and that the environmental impacts of all the options are thoroughly assessed."
The State Government announced its preferred option for an 11-kilometre tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley on May 15. While this was welcomed by Blackheath residents, those living in Medlow Bath have been lobbying for the tunnel to start in their village.
Federal Labor has also pledged to provide funding to councils to upgrade local roads ahead of Saturday's election [May 21].
"We will extend the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program to allow more priority projects to be funded and more local roads to be upgraded," said Ms Templeman.
Based on a program introduced by Labor during the Global Financial Crisis, the LRCI program delivers funding directly to councils to undertake local priority projects, upgrading infrastructure and supporting jobs growth across communities.
"Councils do great work, but many simply don't have the resources to upgrade the assets they're responsible for," said Ms Templeman.
"That's why an Albanese Labor Government will give them the support they need, partnering with councils across the country to upgrade local roads."
Ms Templeman said the politics will also be taken out of infrastructure planning in Western Sydney under a Labor government by establishing an expert panel to look at the region's needs and report ahead of the 2023 budget.
"The panel will bring together all three levels of government across Western Sydney - from the southwest to the northwest - and conduct proper planning for future transport and infrastructure needs," she said.
"It will also bring together community and local business representatives to provide feedback, so local people have a greater voice."
Ms Templeman said a much-needed improvement to pedestrian access in the Lower Mountains, "which residents have been calling for over many years, would be delivered by Labor".
"An Albanese Labor Government would bring safer access to Hawkesbury Heights by investing $1.8 million to build a fully paved shared path for pedestrians, cyclists and families adjacent to Hawkesbury Road, between Hawkesbury Heights Lookout and Winmalee High School.
"The local community has been crying out for a better solution, but has been ignored for nearly a decade by this tired, old Liberal Government," she said.
In other Labor election commitments, an Albanese Labor government would deliver $15,000 to create a Blue Mountains toy library.
The funding would be used to purchase safe and fun age-appropriate toys and equipment that can be leant out to families to vary the weekly play routine.
"We are very excited that Belong Blue Mountains Neighbourhood Services have agreed to lead the toy library service roll out and have committed to resourcing staff and infrastructure long term," said Ms Templeman.
"Belong Blue Mountains has the geographic spread of access points with neighbourhood centres in Blaxland, Lawson and Katoomba that will ensure accessibility for community. Belong will invite community service organisations working with families and children across the Mountains to explore delivering the toy library in partnership to increase reach for families."
Ms Templeman said "while commitments like this one seem small, they can make a big difference to the services that can be offered to local families to help them with everyday costs".
Belong CEO Kath Harrison said they are "so grateful for this support from our local member".
"It's such important work and Belong Blue Mountains are keen for this to be a community asset that enhances existing work with families and children across the sector."
Belong's family, children and youth community manager, Danielle Wilding-Forbes, said the team are "so excited at the prospect of embarking on this roll out, they are keen to involve parents and carers in the service design and in particular toy shopping".
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