Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government has granted planning permissions for the first stage of the Parramatta Light Rail project, which would help boost connectivity in Sydney.

The first stage of the project will connect Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta’s CBD and Camellia.

The 12km long light rail project will connect key destinations such as the Westmead Precinct, the new Western Sydney Stadium, the new Powerhouse Museum and three Western Sydney University campuses, as well as new communities at Camellia and Telopea.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said: “Parramatta Light Rail is part of the NSW Government’s A$80bn infrastructure pipeline, which includes the largest transport infrastructure program in Australia with A$43bn of investment over the next four years.”

Construction and operation contracts for the first stage of the Parramatta Light Rail project are expected to be awarded in the third quarter of this year.

“Parramatta Light Rail is part of the NSW Government’s A$80bn infrastructure pipeline, which includes the largest transport infrastructure program in Australia with A$43bn of investment over the next four years.”

The government of New South Wales has set aside A$1bn for the first stage of the project, however, the final project cost will be known only after contracts are finalised.

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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “Parramatta Light Rail will connect major Western Sydney precincts for the first time and make it possible for people to ‘turn up and go’ to employment, cultural, entertainment and sports destinations.

“Parramatta Light Rail will create close to 5,000 jobs, connect communities along the route and transform the way that people explore all the attractions that Western Sydney has to offer, with a light rail service every 7.5 minutes in peak periods.”

Constance added that construction works on the project are to begin by the end of this year.

A final business case for a planned second stage, which will connect the Parramatta CBD to Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point and Sydney Olympic Park, is also slated to be completed by the end of 2018.

Parramatta Light Rail is scheduled to become operational by 2023.