Infrastructure Budget a Good Start, but Questions Remain

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue was established with three initial KPIs.

The approval of a second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.

Ensure Western Sydney receives a fair-share of the NSW infrastructure spend. 

Address social disadvantage in the region’s public housing estates.

 

Western Sydney was one of the winners to emerge from this year’s state budget, but Chair of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, has warned there are still important questions that remain unanswered.

“The Dialogue is pleased with the Government’s support of the region and its continued focus on infrastructure investment, which is essential if it is to provide the necessary homes, jobs and social options for the majority of Sydney-siders by 2031,” Mr Brown said.

“Premier Baird is to be congratulated for delivering a big cut of his Government's infrastructure dividend to this most vital growth region.”

Mr Brown highlighted the heavy investment in roads and transport infrastructure, the $30 million over four years for arts in western Sydney, improved TAFE funding and the government’s commitment to the redevelopment of Westmead and Mt Druitt Hospitals, as solid wins for Western Sydney.

 “In addition to the Government’s investment in improving the region’s roads, health and education, the allocation of $19m towards planning for the Western Sydney Light Rail, hopefully signals the start of a light rail network that will not only improve access, but importantly, help transform under-utilised parcels of land, while also supporting the Government’s housing objectives,” he said. 

“The best way to do this would be via prioritisation of both the Olympic Park and Carlingford lines.

“The Government's huge investment in public infrastructure across the region will also have a stronger impact on local youth unemployment levels if additional funding is provided to roll out a local skills exchange like TAFE brokered with Lend Lease at Barangaroo."

Although the State Government didn’t announce its preferred route for the Western Sydney Light Rail, it did commit $20.9m over four years to fund the Greater Sydney Commission, which has been established to implement the Plan for Growing Sydney – the Government’s long-term strategy for the city.

One of the key objectives of the Plan was the delivery of 664,000 dwellings in Greater Sydney by 2031.

“The $20m that has been allocated towards the Greater Sydney Commission is an encouraging first step, but there are still questions surrounding its exact role and make-up.  Hopefully civic leaders like Liverpool Mayor, Ned Mannoun, will have a seat at the table,” Mr Brown said.

How the Government allocates its $600m towards stadium upgrades, outlines its preferences for the first stages of the Western Sydney Light Rail Network, and tackles long-term housing affordability and youth unemployment, are important Western Sydney issues that still need to be addressed, Mr Brown added.

“The Government’s stadium investment is expected to have a number of flow-on effects, such as how and where future transport links are connected, which in turn will impact on future housing supply. This is no more prevalent than the Olympic Corridor precinct between Camellia and Strathfield,” Mr Brown said.

“The Government should be congratulated for its commitment to infrastructure investment in Western Sydney, but there are still a number unresolved issues, that could impact greatly on how and where the region grows.

“Hopefully the answers are not too far away.”

 

Budget Takeaways for Western Sydney

• $164 million additional support for the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan including Bringelly Road Upgrade (Stage 1) and Werrington Arterial Road (Stage 1) in 2015-16

• $2 million for new growth ferries for Parramatta River services

• Redevelopment of Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals, worth more than $680 million

• Redevelopment of Westmead Hospital, worth more than $900 million.

• Planning work will commence on the redevelopment of Parramatta Public School and Arthur Phillip High School as part of the Rebuilding NSW Plan.

• $20 million over two years to establish an Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney.

• $12 million over three years is also being provided to assist with the development of the Western Sydney Sport and Community Centre in Penrith.

• $20 million over four years for the arts in Western Sydney

• $10 million over two years to commence planning for the Parramatta Cultural precinct and the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta

• $101 million for TAFE construction and IT projects.

• Funding increase for improvements to Western Sydney Parklands