House debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Constituency Statements

Macarthur Electorate: Public Transport

10:35 am

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

I speak today about a matter that is of vital importance to a large number of my constituents and indeed a developing crisis that's been on my radar since before the 2016 election. My concerns relate to the provision of transport infrastructure. We have a very rapidly growing population and massive development. Unless we actively invest in public transport, the gridlock on our local roads and our motorways will only worsen. We need to be doing all that we can to speed up our constituents' daily commute and make it easier and quicker for them to get back home to their families after a hard day of work.

Specifically, I wish to take this opportunity to speak on a lack of access to commuter car parking across the Macarthur electorate. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to other members that my community's commuter car parks are full most mornings by around 7 am. I'd imagine that many of them are experiencing similar difficulties in their electorates. I hear from my constituents on a regular basis, telling me stories about how they will drive to a local train station, arriving well in advance of peak hour, and yet they will be unable to find a parking spot. The sad reality is that oftentimes my constituents will have no choice but to drive the long distance to work. For my constituents, this will involve a trip along a motorway, such as the M5 and the M7, in bumper-to-bumper traffic with many other locals, also disgruntled about a lack of essential access to public transport. It's not unheard of in the Macarthur electorate for individuals to take two hours to drive to work in the morning and two hours to drive back home in the afternoon. No parent should be made to forego having dinner with their children of an evening because it takes them an incomprehensible amount of time to travel the 40 or 50 kilometres into the city and its outskirts.

In Macarthur, we have six widely used train stations which desperately need improvements to their commuter car parking. Leppington station in particular poses a safety threat to the broader community due to its lack of parking, with commuters forced to park kilometres away from the station, causing havoc to the local primary school and danger to commuters, particular in the early morning and the evenings, walking along very busy roads in the dark to their cars. I hear from constituents each time I visit Leppington station—it's one of my regular mobile offices—that many of them are made to walk along the side of the road for kilometres to get to and from their cars. Surely, with the rapid growth in my region, in Macarthur, and the fact that this station's usage will only increase with the new Western Sydney Airport, the time has come where we must do better with commuter car parking. State and federal Liberal governments have persisted in pushing massive development in Macarthur without public transport infrastructure, and this much change. It is putting people at risk and destroying family life, and the time has come for a better option and for better treatment of Macarthur residents.