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NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance is expected to announce today that he is making the move from state to federal politics.
Constance will contest the seat of Eden-Monaro, on the NSW South Coast, which covers his state electorate of Bega. Constance will go up against Labor candidate Kristy McBain, who is the current Bega Valley Mayor. The resignation of Labor MP Mike Kelly triggered the by-election. Kelly stepped down for health reasons.
Constance had already told the public that his time in state politics was limited. Following the NSW bushfires in early 2020, Constance took an extended period of leave after his home in Malua Bay was almost destroyed by fire. At the time, Constance had said that once the recovery was complete he would resign from politics.
A replacement for Constance in the transport portfolio has not yet been announced.
Constance was appointed to the position of Transport Minister in 2015, following the NSW state election that year. Constance was previously Treasurer for the year prior.
Since becoming Transport Minister, Constance oversaw the roll-out of the Sydney Metro project. The delivery of the project kicked off in 2015 shorty after Constance became Transport Minister and the proceeds of the power privatisation scheme could be used to fund the new rail line, although construction had begun in 2013. The line became operational in May 2019.
Other projects that have been progressed during Constance’s time as Transport Minister include the More Trains More Services signalling and timetable upgrades, and the associated Digital Systems Program.
While Constance has drawn praise for the Metro Northwest line, a controversial project during his time as Transport Minister has been the Sydney CBD and Southeast Light Rail. Construction had commenced in 2015 and while major construction was initially expected to be completed in 2018, the line did not open until late 2019. The fall-out between the NSW government and the Altrac consortium also led to legal disputes costing hundreds of millions of dollars. In April 2020, the final branch of the line to Kingsford was opened.
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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