Metro West Consultation Commences

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has welcomed the NSW Government’s commitment to consult with community and industry on the Metro West rail project, as announced by Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, today.

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, was hopeful that the consultation process for the
Metro West, connecting the Sydney CBD to Westmead via the Bays Precinct at Rozelle, Sydney Olympic Park, Camellia and Parramatta, would also explore funding and value-capture options.

“The Metro West is a transformative project that will connect two of Australia’s major commercial zones, while also fast-tracking jobs, urban renewal and investment along the ‘Olympic Corridor’.

“The clock is firmly ticking on this project, especially when you consider the current capacity
issues on the Western Line and a rapidly expanding population that desperately needs efficient transport links that connects our region’s growth areas. This ‘steel spine’ for Sydney is also needed by 2025 to support a potential Western Sydney bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

“This includes Metro West stops at both Sydney Olympic Park and Camellia, two places that are primed for urban revitalisation over the coming decades, and expected to attract millions of visitors and house thousands of residents.

“Importantly, a number of land-owners within these two centres have already signalled their
willingness to engage with government and work towards a ‘value-contribution’ process that can ensure this vital project is funded, and not be solely reliant on the tax-payer.”

Mr Brown said the Metro West, along with the north-south rail, linking Rouse Hill & Campbelltown via Badgerys Creek, should be the two top transport priorities for the State Government.

“Western Sydney deserves these two rail projects, along with a complete Parramatta light rail
network that extends to Epping and Rhodes. We shouldn’t have to choose between the two.
“We appreciate the cross political support from Minister Constance and Opposition Leader Foley and urge NSW Treasury and the Commonwealth to provide funding for this project which will then generate billions of dollars of private sector capital via value contribution.

“The urban renewal opportunities that these rail projects will catalyse over the coming decades are too important to miss, and if we want to have these links in place by the time the Western Sydney

Airport opens in 2026, then things need to ramp up pretty quickly.” Mr Brown concluded.

NSW Budget Breakdown

After consecutive years of big spending on major transport infrastructure projects, the Budget this year focuses very strongly on the state’s hospitals and schools with some $5 billion in new spending on upgrades and new facilities.

A total of $72.7 billion in infrastructure projects is in the pipeline for delivery over the coming four years, and some $15 billion is asset recycling proceeds has been banked for medium and longer-term projects beyond the forward estimates.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL REGION BY REGION BREAKDOWN

Health
Of the $2.3 billion in new hospital projects announced, some $1.2 billion will go to the Greater West. $632 million will be spent on upgraded paediatric, emergency and mental health facilities at Campbelltown Hospital and $576 million (previously announced) will go to the upgrade of Nepean Hospital.

Funding is also provided for planning for future capital works at Rouse Hill and Liverpool Hospitals, and a State-wide Mental Health capital works program. A $100 million package of new funding for palliative care includes $6.9 million for community-based palliative care in the Western Sydney Local Health District.

Education
The $4.2 billion four-year capital program to be spent in NSW public school over the forward estimates includes $2.2 billion in new spending on priority projects over the next two years aimed at delivering more than 1,500 new classrooms and more than 32,000 additional student places.

Of these school upgrades and new school projects, 59 will be in Western Sydney, including new schools in Schofields, Leppington, Oran Park, Narellan, Gledswood Hills, Bella Vista, North Kellyville, Liverpool, Parramatta, Jordan Springs, Penrith, Olympic Park and Wilton Junction.

$49 million is being provided to deliver programs and initiatives in partnership with Aboriginal communities, including the establishment of the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney.

Transport
Spending in transport continues at record levels with $41.4 billion invested in capital projects over the forward estimates.Western Sydney will see continued investment in major projects, many of which are already underway:

  • $3.2 billion for continued delivery of WestConnex.
  • $2.8 billion for the Sydney Metro project, including the Metro North West, South West and second harbour rail crossing.
  • $648 million towards the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, including roads to support the construction of Western Sydney Airport and surrounding employment lands, such as Bringelly Road and the Northern Road.
  • $1.4 billion in rail maintenance and $658 million in network enhancements and improvements, including extra express services for Western Sydney.
  • $25 million for planning and early work for Parramatta Light Rail, with funding already set aside under Restart NSW and Rebuilding NSW for eventual delivery of this project.
  • $ 40 million to plan the M9 Outer Orbital and the M12 freeway linking the M7 to Western Sydney Airport.
  • $10 million towards new Parramatta to Sydney CBD ferries.

Notably, funding for construction of Parramatta Light Rail is set aside but not committed, while the business case for that project remains under development. The announced Metro West, linking Parramatta, Olympic Park and the CBD was also a notable omission from the Budget, with planning funds widely expected to be included. WSLD expects this transformative project to progress over the coming months and will be advocating for it to be expedited for delivery within the next 10 years.

Sport
In addition to the $160 million provided to progress work on the Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta, $30 million has been allocated for the new Parramatta Pool. 
A key feature of this year’s Budget is a new $100 “Active Kids Rebate for parents to spend on junior sport fees, with $207 million allocated for this initiative over four years.

Tourism
The tourism budget includes $193 million to attract visitors and support the local tourism industry across NSW. Funding boosts are provided for both Destination NSW ($18 million in new funding) and the Western Sydney Parklands Trust ($12 million funding boost). No further commitments were made on the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, which will be a key plank of WSLD advocacy over the coming year.

Dialogue Welcomes Airport Decision - More Work Needed

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to get on with building Western Sydney’s Airport, and outlined that a ‘whole-of-Sydney’ approach was required to meet the region’s growing aviation needs.

“The Federal Government has continually proven that it is 100% behind the development of the Western Sydney Airport (WSA), and today’s decision is further proof of its commitment to helping grow the region,” Mr Brown said.

"I've known Paul Fletcher since university days and Western Sydney is lucky to have him at the helm of this process as he gets the need to combine nation building with local input."

“WSA at Badgerys Creek is the biggest, and most significant infrastructure project in the nation, and set to catalyse the delivery of smart jobs, investment and urban renewal opportunities. It can’t come soon enough.

“Sydney Airport should also be commended for its continued enthusiasm, and willingness, to engage with Western Sydney, and the integrity with which it has carried out its negotiations with Government. The level of industry and community engagement exercised by Sydney Airport throughout this process, should be the benchmark for Government as it gets on with building WSA.”

Mr Brown, who sat on the Australian and NSW Governments’ Joint Study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney, back in 2012, said it was important to understand that WSA won’t reach full capacity by the mid-2040s - meaning that Western Sydney’s surging population, along with the rest of Sydney, will continue to rely on Kingsford Smith Airport (KSA) at Mascot, as its main international gateway.

“The key recommendations to come from the 2012 report not only highlighted Badgerys Creek as the location of Sydney’s second airport, but identified the need for improved capacity and infrastructure support at KSA, to cope with increased demand,” he said.

“We’re part of the way there, and I would hope that, given the significance of both airports, that the NSW and Federal Governments were committed to ensuring they have the necessary infrastructure and regulatory support to meet our city’s aviation needs.

“This includes ensuring that WSA has rail links in place before it is operational, and looking at ways to improve access to and from KSA at Mascot, particularly as Western Sydney’s airport is still close to a decade away from being ready for take off.”

Games Bid Proposed at Out There Summit

The case for Greater Western Sydney hosting the 2026 or 2030 Commonwealth Games will be put to the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres, at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s (WSLD) Out There Summit today at the WSU campus in Parramatta.

Exploring big ideas and projects in the region, this year’s event, with more than 450 registered attendees across government, business, sport, tourism and the arts, is aimed at stimulating debate on the key issues and opportunities in Western Sydney.

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said that staging the Commonwealth Games in Greater Western Sydney would reflect the region’s confidence, maturity and growth, and firmly cement its arrival on the international stage.

“Western Sydney has a deep, rich sporting culture, and everything in place to make it a success. It’s a no-brainer,” Mr Brown said.

“This is the low-cost, low-risk games, and with the vast majority of facilities already in place, the government can focus on spending its dollars on the supporting transport infrastructure.

“We are calling on the Premier to establish an exploratory committee and develop a business case for a possible bid for the 2026 or 2030 Games. We don’t think Regional Victoria has nearly the appeal that this region presents and would cost taxpayers much more money.”

Existing sporting facilities in Western Sydney include Sydney Olympic Park’s Spotless Stadium (Athletics), ANZ Stadium (opening & closing ceremonies) and Qudos Bank Arena (Indoor Sports), Penrith Lakes (Regatta Centre), Blacktown (Sports Centre), the new Parramatta Stadium (Rugby Sevens), Bankstown (Velodrome), Cecil Park (Target Shooting), Campbelltown (Stadium) and Western Sydney Parklands (mountain bikes).

Mr Brown said that the Games would ensure existing, and proposed, infrastructure projects such as Badgerys Creek Airport, Parramatta Light Rail, WestConnex and impending heavy-rail connections such as North-South Rail and West-Metro, were delivered on time.

The urban renewal opportunities for old industrial sites like Camellia and in regional centres such as Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown, were also added benefits.

“Our region is the infrastructure capital of the world, and with all the current, and proposed works in the pipeline, including Badgerys Creek, what better way to set a deadline and ensure these vital projects stay on track,” Mr Brown said.

“The need for a new Athletes’ Village is an opportunity to inject further investment and life, into some of Western Sydney’s urban centres, especially in older public housing communities in places such as Campbelltown and Mt Druitt. This is an exciting prospect, and one that would leave a renewed affordable housing legacy.” Mr Brown concluded.

Dialogue Calls on Government Support For Airport Rail

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is encouraged by the Federal Opposition’s renewed commitment to a rail link connecting north and south-west Sydney via Badgerys Creek, and has called on the Federal Government to follow suit in its City Deals proposal.

Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown AM, who met with Federal Opposition Infrastructure Spokesman Anthony Albanese last week, said today’s announcement to secure a north-south rail corridor and provide $400m towards an extension of the south-west rail link, was critical, given the area’s forecast growth.

“This is the missing link in Sydney’s transport network – the north-south spine that links to all of our key growth and employment areas,” Mr Brown said.

“These are also the same precincts that are expected to house the majority of Western Sydney’s new residents over the next 20 years. If we have learnt anything from our planning and transport mistakes of the past, it is that we cannot continue to build homes without providing the necessary supporting infrastructure to ensure smart jobs will follow.”

The Dialogue has been a strong advocate for a north-south rail connection, having helped form the Western Sydney Rail Alliance with local councils and land owners, to build a business case for the urban transformation opportunity that this rail link would present.

Mr Brown said that the work that the Alliance had undertaken over the past 18 months had helped raise awareness of the current access issues faced by residents in areas such as Campbelltown, Oran Park, Marsden Park and Camden, and outlined how improved transport connections could catalyse the growth of more smart jobs, homes and improved amenity.

“We’re pleased that the growth areas of Greater Western Sydney, and how they connect to Badgerys Creek Airport, are on the radar of both sides of Government,” he said.

“Before we get carried away with direct rail links to Circular Quay, we need to ensure the people of Penrith, Liverpool, Blacktown, and Campbelltown can get to and from our new airport.

“Of course it is going to cost a lot more than $400 million from the Commonwealth to help build this line and these communities - but it’s a good start,” Mr Brown concluded.