Parramatta light rail extension to Olympic Park to cost $3.9 billion
  Greg Sutherland

The cost of the long-delayed second stage of Parramatta’s light rail line will hit $3.9 billion, hundreds of millions of dollars more than the bill for Sydney’s CBD and south-east line which almost doubled its original forecast.

A major shortfall in funding for the second stage has sparked calls for the Minns government to commit extra money to the project in Tuesday’s state budget to guarantee it is built.

Transport for NSW’s estimated cost of the planned 10-kilometre extension of the Parramatta light rail line from Camellia to Sydney Olympic Park comes on top of the fully funded $2.875 billion price tag for the first stage, which blew out by $475 million last year.

The first stage of the Parramatta light rail line between Westmead and Carlingford is due to open to passengers in May next year.

The first stage of the Parramatta light rail line between Westmead and Carlingford is due to open to passengers in May next year.Credit: Brook Mitchell

It puts the cost of the entire line, which will span 22 kilometres if the second stage is built as promised, at $6.8 billion – the equivalent of two CBD and southeast light rail projects.

About $600 million was set aside in last year’s state budget for enabling works for the second stage, which will largely fund construction of a 320-metre bridge across the Parramatta River from Melrose Park to Wentworth Point.

The Minns government has pledged to commit an extra $200 million to expedite the project, but that falls short of the projected $705 million needed over just the next three years to start building the actual light rail line by 2026.

The transport agency’s cost estimates are contained in advice to the parliamentary budget office. Transport for NSW has not previously released cost forecasts for the second stage of the project.

Business Western Sydney executive director David Borger said Tuesday’s budget was a chance for the government to deliver on its commitment to start constructing the second stage.


“Every year we must wait for construction to start ... is just more delay and risks the future of the project. What we want to see in the NSW budget next week is a plan to sign a contract to lay light rail tracks in the ground,” he said.

“A bridge between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point, while an important enabling project, is not Parramatta light rail stage two in the minds of the residents.”

Related Article


Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro farms out jobs worth $2000 a day

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Jo Haylen declined to say whether the government would inject extra funding into the project, saying it stood by its election commitments and would have more to say in the budget on Tuesday.**

When the proposed route of the second stage was unveiled in 2017, then transport minister Andrew Constance said he was hopeful construction would start before 2020. However, the previous government repeatedly delayed making an investment decision on the second stage.

Under the existing plans, Transport for NSW doesn’t expect the second stage to opened to passengers until 2031, about five years later than originally planned. About 15 homes will be acquired for the line’s extension, which will have 14 stops and end at the Carter Street high-rise development next to Olympic Park.

A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said future funding commitments for the second stage were subject to the budget process.

The agency said construction of the planned bridge between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point would be delivered as a separate package from the rest of the second stage, which it was continuing planning and development work for.

The Parramatta light rail project is also subject to a broader review by former Roads and Maritime Services chief Ken Kanofski of the state’s $115 billion infrastructure pipeline.

Last year Infrastructure NSW advised the government to delay the second stage and several other large projects due to skilled labour shortages and supply chain disruptions.

The first stage of the light rail line between Westmead and Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD is due to open by May next year.

Related Article

Chris Minns is facing a huge test of his premiership, with the future of the Metro West in his hands.

Sydney Metro

With $8 billion already gone, Minns faces a huge test of his

Sydney’s CBD and southeast light rail line opened three years ago at a cost of $3.1 billion – almost double the original forecast of $1.6 billion – following lengthy construction delays and legal battles.