House debates

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Statements by Members

Macarthur Electorate: Economy

10:06 am

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

It's time to kickstart the Macarthur economy. Over the coming weeks, Macarthur residents will receive correspondence from me regarding the state of our local economy. Macarthur's community has been hit hard through 2020, and even before that. Families and local businesses are struggling to stay afloat, and the added economic pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are only making things much worse. Our local economy has been struggling for some time. Members of this House will be well aware of some of the issues plaguing my community, as I have raised these issues many times before in this place.

Macarthur's local economy was struggling well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment and underemployment figures in Macarthur have been well above the national average since long before this economic crisis. Underemployment has been rife, particularly for young people. Macarthur residents lack adequate access to ongoing adequate and stable work in the local community. Far too many local residents face lengthy commutes, often over three hours every day, and this eats into quality family time and adds to the stress that they're under. Many good local businesses are struggling. As someone who had owned and operated a local business in Macarthur for decades, I know only too well the pressures facing our local employers. Small and family businesses want to retain and look after their local employees. The state of our local economy is making it difficult for them to stay afloat. The reality is that, if more people living in Macarthur were able to work locally, they would spend more money and time in our local economy. Instead, many are spending many hours each day on public transport or in bumper-to-bumper traffic, waiting to get to work.

Like many communities across Australia, the Macarthur community is struggling in the wake of COVID-19. The recent announcements about early childhood education are only going to make things worse. Our community is growing exponentially, yet this government and the Liberal state government are spending very little on infrastructure in my electorate. In particular, they're not funding the rail link from south-west Sydney to the western Sydney airport—a huge shame and very detrimental to our local people and our local economy. Macarthur residents need local jobs and we were hopeful the airport would provide that. However, the government has done nothing to provide infrastructure to the local airport from Macarthur. Our economic recovery depends on a bipartisan approach to this crisis and it's time the government provided funding for vital projects outside of Liberal and National Party electorates. The time for pork-barrelling has gone. Our rapidly growing community in Macarthur and south-west Sydney ought to receive the support from the government that it deserves. Funding is being afforded to other electorates with less need. It's time to kick-start the local economy. It's time for the Morrison government to do something about infrastructure in south-west Sydney. (Time expired)


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