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The Berejiklian government plans to sell land along rail lines in Sydney's inner south to pay for a $207 million upgrade of Redfern train station, leaked documents show.
The long overdue upgrade of Sydney's sixth-busiest station is part of a much larger plan for a redevelopment of the Redfern-North Eveleigh precinct.
“Sensitive” government documents, obtained by the Herald, reveal the state intends to fund the station upgrade by the “transfer and development of government land at North Eveleigh and Redfern”.
The government owns about 12 hectares of land in the Redfern area, including the Carriageworks site at the old Eveleigh rail yards.
The documents, dated March this year, reveal the plans to sell land at Redfern and North Eveleigh will be confirmed during a “market-led process” to redevelop the precinct around the station. The government wants to announce the preferred developer for the precinct redevelopment next year.
The state's lead transport agency has estimated the cost of the station upgrade at $207 million, the documents show.
Redfern station is under strain from a surge in passengers using it as a “transport gateway” to the nearby University of Sydney campus and Australian Technology Park.
The pressure from commuters will intensify over the next two years as about 10,000 Commonwealth Bank staff begin working at the technology park.
While improvement works such as a new entrance are under way, Redfern has not had a major upgrade for three decades. The station fails to meet accessibility standards because most commuters are forced to use stairs to get to and from platforms.
Parents forced to carry prams down the stairs at Redfern station.
Photo: Dean SewellThe station had a lift installed in 2015 but it serves just two of its 12 platforms.
The Herald has also revealed that Redfern's underground platforms on the Eastern Suburbs line are rated the second-most vulnerable on Sydney's rail network to fire after Town Hall.
Labor's transport spokeswoman, Jodi McKay, said Redfern station had been overlooked as a priority for an upgrade for far too long.
“Stations like Redfern should be a priority because of the number of people using them. It has become over-congested because it services the university and the business park,” she said.
A strategic business case completed late last year estimated the Redfern station upgrade would have a benefit-cost ratio of 2.3. It means the long-term benefits easily exceed the upfront costs.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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