Monday, 9 November 2020
Private Members' Business
That this House:
(1) acknowledges south-west Sydney:
(a) is one of the key contributors to economic growth in the Australian economy;
(b) is in need of investment to support jobs and growth;
(c) is home to diverse and endangered species;
(d) has a population of approximately 700,000, which is over 9 per cent of the NSW population; and
(e) provides over $30 billion in gross regional product to the NSW economy;
(2) notes that south-west Sydney is chronically underfunded and under-resourced in the following areas:
(a) road infrastructure and public transport;
(b) hospitals and health services;
(c) communications services; and
(d) schools and universities;
(3) further acknowledges that investment in south-west Sydney is required to support jobs creation; and
(4) calls on the Government to provide the necessary support to:
(a) encourage business growth;
(b) encourage jobs growth; and
(c) build infrastructure to sustain growth.
One of the recurring themes I've spoken about during my time in this place has been the need for governments at all levels to provide basic infrastructure and services for our community. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 70 per cent of Werriwa residents left the area each day to go to work. They do this on congested roads and overcrowded trains and buses. It took a concerted campaign over many years for the expansion of parking at Edmondson Park railway station; a station which opened five years ago to cater for tens of thousands of new residents will finally get a multistorey car park. That car park has only now started construction, well after its promised start date. And those who have no choice but to take the car to work are now being slugged by a new toll on an old road: the M5 East. Barry Calvert, President of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, summed it up well in a recent op-ed:
As the future hub for Greater Sydney and the engine room of the state, Western Sydney deserves an equitable approach to the key issues of transport infrastructure from the NSW Government; including a more efficient, fair and sustainable tolling system that does not plunder the region's pockets.
The people of south-western Sydney are taking their fair share of population growth, but they also deserve a fair share of the infrastructure and services to support it.
In coming years, Austral in my electorate will house a population the size of a regional city. Like those regional cities, Austral and its surrounds will need critical services, like a hospital, police station and ambulance station. It will need arts and cultural facilities and major sporting amenities, yet things are going in the opposite direction. The New South Wales government recently merged police local area commands in my electorate, and a recent report on Liverpool Hospital by Westir found that the local health district was significantly under-resourced in comparison to other Sydney health districts. Under-resourced health districts mean longer wait times for operations, significant strains on doctors and other health staff and poorer health outcomes, which is even worse during the current pandemic.
Education is another area where the people of south-west Sydney are being short-changed. Many of my constituents have contacted me about the lack of a public school at Edmondson Park. Students as young as five are being told they should attend Prestons Public School, which is a really great school, also in my electorate, but it is over five kilometres away, with no public transport links that are easily accessed. The local public high school is still further away, and in another suburb, Casula. I call on the New South Wales government to start building a school at Edmondson Park and to do it now. Too many schools in Werriwa are already over-enrolled; some are 180 per cent over capacity.
Public schools in Carnes Hill, Green Valley, Liverpool, Horningsea Park and Hinchinbrook now have larger classes and smaller playgrounds, because the demountables have been rushed in to take this increase in student numbers. This wasn't unforeseen. The government that looks after these schools is the same one that oversaw the new subdivisions and suburbs. This lack of planning by the state government is laid out only today in the Daily Telegraph: 'Schools in Western Sydney with 40 to 50 demountable classrooms'. This is not about a lack of money; it is about priorities and about the south-west of Sydney being short-changed.
The electorate of Werriwa is also home to the $5.3 billion Western Sydney airport. If successful, the airport will bring residents of south-west Sydney good quality jobs, education and infrastructure that are sorely needed. Revelations regarding the $26 million overpayment do not bode well. Not only did this undermine confidence in the project; it is also a shocking waste of taxpayers' money. That wasted $26 million could have been used to upgrade Cambridge Avenue and Middleton Drive, to improve parks and playing fields in Werriwa and to build a genuine national broadband network that is fit for purpose—and that is just in my electorate.
Werriwa and south-west Sydney as a whole have been let down and neglected by the government. The south-west of Sydney is one of the key growth areas of Australia and is on the cusp of realising its economic and cultural potential. I call on the government, both federal and state to provide the necessary funding and resources to reinforce the growing powerhouse of south-west Sydney.
The reason we're in parliament is to advocate for more opportunities and investments for our communities. Every day, I'm here to represent the people of Lindsay and Western Sydney and to ensure my electorate gets the projects and infrastructure my community needs. I need to fight for that. I need to represent my people in this place. That's what we all need to do to get the best for our communities, whether it's roads, infrastructure, education opportunities or job opportunities. Western Sydney has the opportunity to drive our economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. We are delivering job opportunities to create initiatives and unlock this potential. We know that Western Sydney is one of Australia's fastest-growing regions. To harness the opportunities for families and businesses, we are investing in local infrastructure. We're delivering better, safer and more accessible roads, to make sure that, as we continue to create more local jobs, people spend less time stuck in traffic, less time on that daily commute, and more time building their businesses and being at home with their families.
As the member for Werriwa said in her speech, Western Sydney airport is going to bring so many opportunities for our whole community of Western Sydney. Our $5.3 billion investment in Western Sydney airport and $2.9 billion infrastructure investment will improve connectivity in surrounding road networks. Our Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan includes the new M12 motorway, which will be the main access road to the airport. We're also delivering the Werrington Arterial Road upgrade and upgrades to Bringelly Road, which are already underway, and the Northern Road. In addition to this, we're providing a $200 million package for local road upgrades.
In my electorate of Lindsay—and I fight for the people there every day, to get what I need for my community—we're delivering 23 kilometres of railway through St Marys, Orchard Hills and Luddenham and two stations at the airport. The rail link, which will connect from St Marys to Western Sydney airport and Badgerys Creek aerotropolis, will be built in time for the airport's opening in 2026. The ability to connect our community will mean that business owners, students, researchers and so many more people in our community will have access to reliable transport, which will unlock even more opportunities for people right across Western Sydney and deliver real long-term benefits to people in Western Sydney, our economy and our community.
With an expected benefit-to-cost ratio of over 1.8, this is over $1.80 to the economy from every single dollar invested. By 2063, the Western Sydney airport is expected to generate $1.5 billion annually. That is delivering opportunities for the people of Western Sydney. This investment and the important infrastructure and road upgrades our community needs will increase access for small businesses in Western Sydney so they can expand, showcasing their products around the state and around our nation. With Western Sydney international airport, it will open new doors and unlock new opportunities and new markets globally.
By backing our small businesses, our manufacturers and our community with record investment to support and create more jobs, we are putting Western Sydney at the forefront of our economic recovery. I've seen this firsthand in my community when visiting a local Australian Made manufacturer who has links right across Western Sydney. Their suppliers are in south-western Sydney, and they're working together to boost our local economy and create more local jobs. Tracy and the team at Plustec make uPVC windows and doors, which are highly energy-efficient as well as resistant to the toughest weather conditions. They've now got the Australian Made accreditation. And when we say 'Australian Made', we know that this means high quality and local jobs. She told me how hard they'd worked to get that accreditation. She also told me that they've been using the Morrison government's instant asset write-off. With the extended write-off they're trying to purchase a new upstroke cut saw, but they've also already purchased four pieces of equipment, including a laminator, a crane and a glazing table, and this is all using the Morrison government's instant asset write-off scheme. This is creating opportunities for local business in Western Sydney and creating more local jobs. We've extended this instant asset write-off, and now 99 per cent of Australian businesses will be able to write off the full value of eligible assets, helping more businesses in Western Sydney to achieve.
These are just a few examples of how we're helping people in our community get ahead in opportunities in Western Sydney. (Time expired)
I'm pleased to speak on the motion moved by my good friend the member for Werriwa. However, as to this motion, I think she's actually living in a little bit of a parallel universe when she talks about Western Sydney as somehow missing out on its share of infrastructure funding. Let's just have a look at a few things underway in Western Sydney at the moment. We'll start with the Liverpool Hospital. A $790 million upgrade will see a new integrated cancer centre, an expanded emergency department and enhanced neonatal and intensive care, maternity and critical care wards. It will be both a health and academic precinct—$790 million. And that's just Liverpool Hospital.
In addition, a $632 million upgrade to Campbelltown Hospital is already underway. On top of the upgrade to Liverpool Hospital and the major upgrade to Campbelltown Hospital, there's also a $1.3 billion upgrade to Bankstown hospital. They're all underway now by the New South Wales state government in cooperation with the coalition federal government.
Then we come to what is probably Australia's biggest infrastructure project at the moment, Western Sydney airport. It's a $5.3 billion project. I would encourage anyone who hasn't been out there to go out there and have a look at the massive amount of land works currently underway. We've got something like 4,000 construction jobs during the construction phase. When it's finally opened, we'll be looking at something between 20,000 to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs at Western Sydney airport. But, of course, Western Sydney airport, like all airports, is put at risk by some of the reckless policies that we see, such as the rush to zero emissions. Until someone can explain to us how airplanes are going to work with zero emissions, all these airport developments are at risk.
We also have, not only the Western Sydney airport by itself but also an $8 billion rail project underway in Western Sydney. That's 23 kilometres of new rail line, which will create six new stations. We'll have an airport metro rail line running between the airport and the new stations at Luddenham, Orchard Hills, St Marys and the new airport business park. From this we expect another 14,000 jobs. So, to the idea that Western Sydney is missing out, the facts are the exact opposite. To anyone who wants to have an idea of the development going on with Western Sydney infrastructure, I encourage them to look at the new development at Edmondson Park, with the new railway line, the new roads, the new infrastructure and the new school. I would encourage everyone to have a look out there and see the massive development. It's slightly outside my electorate, but I go through that area maybe once or twice a year, and when I drive through it now I am always shocked at areas I thought I knew reasonably well. With the amount of development that is going on out in that area, it is hard to recognise.
If we want to encourage business growth, ultimately the government can only do so much, and we're seeing that in Western Sydney with billions of dollars spent on new hospitals, new railway lines, new road construction and new airports. Ultimately, it comes down to businesses prepared to take the risk—that is, to put their own capital on the line. There must be a risk reward ratio in there that encourages people to innovate, try new business ideas and experiment. That is what we need to encourage in our society. With that, we need lower taxes, less red tape and less government regulation to take the weight off the shoulders of Australian businesses. That is the only way we're going to get the economic growth that we need. And we face a new playing field. The Chinese advised on the weekend that they are prepared to double their economy by 2035. That is what we have to compete with in this nation. (Time expired)
I gladly speak on this motion and second this motion put forward by my friend and colleague the member for Werriwa. I want to thank the member for Werriwa for bringing this matter before the House. She is a staunch advocate for her community and for the greater south-western Sydney community. She truly understands the needs of the people of south-west Sydney. Much like the good people of Macarthur, the people of Werriwa are being let down by this tired, third-term government. The member for Werriwa understands this, and her community is fortunate to have such a strong and passionate representative in this place to stand up against the Morrison government's failings.
The coalition government does not understand the needs of my community of Macarthur, in south-west Sydney. Far from governing in the interests of all Australians, the Morrison government looks after the interests of the privileged few. Under the coalition's tenure, we've witnessed rampant pork-barrelling, dodgy deals, austerity cuts to our hospitals and, indeed, to the ABC, and very little substance in terms of policy. This is a government that would have people believe that responsible economic management is defined as throwing away taxpayers' money on subsidising the operations of billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Foxtel while starving my community of investment and on spending millions of dollars paying to developers 10 times the cost for land in south-west Sydney. The Morrison government's contempt for my growing community has been demonstrated once again in its recent budget.
My community is experiencing exponential growth. The coalition government knows this, and it is, in fact, by their design. This is their design for development in south-west Sydney, yet they're failing to provide adequate infrastructure. There's no rail link to Western Sydney airport from my electorate of Macarthur. My electorate of Macarthur is the electorate that is growing the fastest and has the highest population increase, yet there is no rail link, and, in fact, the corridor that was previously preserved for a rail link has been built over. There is a rail to Leppington that could easily connect to Western Sydney airport. The government has completely ignored this. It's an absolute disgrace. All those new suburbs of Gregory Hills, Oran Park and Arcadian Hills have been left without public transport links to Western Sydney airport. This is a tragedy that is opening up in front of our eyes, yet this government is doing absolutely nothing.
Koala habitat in south-west Sydney is being destroyed as we speak, yet this government is doing nothing in the electorate of Macarthur to protect the only disease-free urban population of koala bears in the country. They're doing nothing. My sports club of Eagle Vale, which doesn't have adequate change rooms for boys or girls, was denied funding in any of the sports grants and any of the community grants. Hornsby council got over $70 million to turn a quarry into a park, yet my sports clubs can't even get change rooms. It's disgraceful. This government is content with allowing Macarthur and south-west Sydney to be transformed into money-producing organisations for their developer mates, but they are not putting in adequate infrastructure. We have one school in my electorate, Oran Park, that has over 40 temporary classrooms—over 40 classrooms stacked one on top of the other. The people of Macarthur deserve better.
There is a moral imperative here on the government to provide infrastructure in the most rapidly developing community in Sydney, yet they're doing nothing. It's staggering that the government is not planning on leaving a legacy for future generations in south-west Sydney with proper public transport, with proper schools, with proper hospitals and with proper educational facilities. Our local economy is crying out for investment. We need local jobs and we need our local businesses to feel supported and to grow. Families in my community are feeling the highest levels of mortgage stress in the country, yet what this government and what the state government does to them is put increasing tolls on roads that they need to travel long distances on to get to work. It is a disgrace. This government has misused taxpayers' money at the expense of the quality of life of those in south-west Sydney. (Time expired)