WESTERN SYDNEY'S TRANSPORT NEEDS MUST BE PRIORITY
Dominic Perrottet has said that he’ll be the Premier for families across Sydney but, when it comes to funding for public transport, there are two Sydneys.
One gets the big bucks and the other has to make do with a trickle of Government spending. Western Sydney is our city’s engine room.
It is where the growth is, with the populations of Parramatta, Camden, Liverpool and Blacktown all expected to increase by over 200,000 each over the next 10 years.
It is where the jobs and industries of the future will be located and is already a place where people from all around our state, nation and from across the world are flocking for opportunity and to build a better life for themselves and their families.
But after more than a decade of the O’Farrell-Baird-Berejiklian-Perrottet Government, while there’s been a flood of population growth across Western Sydney, there has only been a trickle of spending on public transport infrastructure.
The vast majority of public transport projects delivered by the Coalition either start in the middle of Sydney and head east, or run from the Northern and Eastern Suburbs towards the CBD.
In fact, the North West is the only area in Greater Sydney that has received a genuinely new public transport service during 10 years of Coalition Government.
Let’s compare the projections of growth for Western Sydney with those for the Northern Beaches and Mosman LGAs that stand at only 30,000 and 1000 each.
But while rapidly growing communities in the west have to make do with a small flow of money for public transport, the Liberals are ready to spend $10 billion on a new toll road for the Northern Beaches.
This project barely stacks up. It has a benefit cost ratio of 1.2 and that stays the same when the wider economic benefits are included.
It will only carry 25 per cent of the traffic of the Western Harbour Tunnel even though it costs more than the Western Harbour Tunnel.
Independent assessment bodies give it the thumbs down too. It isn’t a priority for Infrastructure Australia which is why it no longer appears as a priority initiative on its October 2021 list.
And local councils like Mosman have made it clear that their support for Beaches Link is contingent on housing targets for the area not going up.
So instead of yet another toll road that Sydney doesn’t need, let’s focus on delivering public transport where it is needed the most.
While Premier Perrottet might say that he’s the Families Premier, the everyday experience of families in Western Sydney is struggling to find a spot on an overcrowded unreliable train or paying ever increasing tolls to crawl along on a congested toll road.
The lack of investment in public transport means people are forced to sit in their car on expensive toll-roads, time they’d much prefer to spend with their families and loved ones.
Western Sydney families deserve the kind of world class reliable public transport services that other areas of Sydney are able to take for granted.
Our growing suburbs of Western Sydney need new and reliable train services that actually link communities across the West with one another, not just to the CBD.
They need a real and reliable alternative to paying tolls that go up by 4 per cent every year in what is now the most tolled city in the world. This is not just about the need for long-term rail projects and quality rapid bus services, but also about making access to these services easy.
It’s about how we shape our suburbs, about making sure there is a footpath or bike lane to the local transport service, making sure that transport service is accessible, that there’s a lift or a place to wait out of the rain and that the facilities are clean and safe.
These are the things that other parts of Sydney can take for granted.
The population of Western Sydney is growing and good public transport infrastructure needs to grow alongside it.
It needs to be a priority.
It’s time to end the tale of two Sydneys. We need a more equal city and that’s what Labor’s commitment is all about.