Thursday, 1 December 2016
I rise today to speak about Western and south-western Sydney. Whichever way you look at it, this region is becoming a city in its own right. There are about two million people living west Parramatta now—that is a big population—but we are only just starting to think about this as a city in its own right, alongside Parramatta and the CBD to the east.
Every day, about 300,000 or 400,000 people are travelling from Western Sydney to the east to get to work, and this east-west movement in the morning and west-east movement in the evening is a major challenge for commuters and for planners. Anyone who battles their way down Narellan Road every day, as I often do, understands the enormous importance of the investment we are making in this area, including the $3.6 billion Western Sydney roads package.
The medium- to long-term fix, however, is to create more jobs close to where people are living in the west and the south-west. Much of the planning towards these jobs and the new industries that will create them will happen through the Western Sydney city deal and, alongside it, the Western Sydney Airport. It was great to hear the Prime Minister on ABC's 7.30 last night talking about the priority of delivering city deals, and the government is focused on making our cities a lot more livable. We are progressing well on our first three city deals, with MOUs signed with three governments in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. Despite what we just heard a few minutes ago from the member for Herbert, an MOU was signed with the Queensland government on 10 November. She needs to keep an eye on what is going on in her local area.
A lot of government initiatives have come and gone; city deals have not. In the UK, they have actually built up momentum, not lost it, because they are solving the fundamental problem: how do you actually get the different levels of government and the private sector focused on delivering what a city needs? Transport hubs have always been at the centre of city development. We are seeing, in all of the great cities of the world, that airports are now huge generators of growth, and so it will be with Western Sydney Airport. It is a great disappointment to me that many of those opposite do not support the jobs and growth that would come from building an airport in the west of Sydney. We recognise that not all of the jobs growth for Western Sydney is going to come from the airport, but it will be a critical catalyst for growth. I look forward to meeting with the mayors of the member councils of the Western Sydney City Deal region next week to start important planning and goal setting. The deal will be one of the first in Australia. The opportunities it will unlock in terms of jobs, housing accessibility and affordability and improved lifestyle for residents will be unprecedented.