Thursday, 3 December 2020
North-West Sydney: Infrastructure
Hallelujah! After a decade, a decade of fighting, Doonside residents finally got the New South Wales government to agree to fund the installation of lifts at the Doonside railway station, one of few on the Western Sydney line. The biggest beneficiaries of this are the 16 per cent of the Doonside population who are over the age of 60 and nearly a thousand residents who reported needing assistance in their day-to-day lives because of disability. These are people that need to use public transport and couldn't because they were structurally prevented from doing so because the New South Wales Liberal government refused to put in these lifts. It took us 10 years.
We had the community petition the New South Wales government, and the state member for Blacktown submitted over 11,000 signatures in a petition to the New South Wales parliament. They were ignored. We had to put in one of the largest lodgements of human rights complaints against the New South Wales government's Transport for NSW, through a lodgement that I coordinated in my local area, because we believe that people with a disability and the elderly in our area were being denied access to public transport. It took all of that and they finally agreed to it, and now the big issue is whether or not this will be done quickly. When lifts were announced for Rooty Hill station in the 2015 budget, they only opened this year. The disabled and elderly in our area cannot wait any longer. I will quote Martha Lynch, President of Doonside Senior Citizens, who was a great supporter of this campaign. She said, 'After all this time, we won.' She's absolutely right.
There are other infrastructure issues in my area in north-west Sydney that still need attention. For example, residents have to regularly park a kilometre away from Schofield station due to a lack of parking. Before the last New South Wales election, the do-nothing transport minister, Andrew Constance, announced that a $40 million multistorey car park would be open by December 2020. Instead of that, we're now getting a concrete football field, a cheaper single-level car park. Last month, they gloated how construction was beginning on 60 new commuter parking spaces, but that's about 640 fewer than what was promised.
I was contacted by Melissa from Schofields, who had written to me concerned about the impact of this single-level car park. She said: 'Whilst other residents and I have been looking forward to the construction of a car park for communities in Schofield station as their chosen transport hub, the construction of an at-grade car park in the chosen location has highly detrimental impacts on our entire estate.' She lives near the station and is worried about the increased footprint of the single-level car park, which could encroach within a hundred metres of homes. Again, this is a case of New South Wales Liberals announcing something and not delivering in line with what they said they would.
I also was contacted by Mario from Berkshire Park, just outside the electorate, who travels along this slow-moving car park that's Richmond Road. He said, as a resident of Berkshire Park, 'Over the last 20 years I've seen traffic queues getting longer and longer on Richmond Road, from Berkshire Park, Windsor Downs and then extending down to the M7 motorway. It's 12 kilometres long and takes 40 or 50 minutes to travel during peak times.' It's just ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous and should be upgraded now.
When I look at all these things in our area, be it how long it took to get an upgrade for the Doonside lifts, the choked Richmond Road, the failure to extend the Metro, the failure to decongest the T1 line, the common thread through all of this is one person—one useless person—and that is the New South Wales transport minister, Andrew Constance. He can't get ferries to fit under a bridge, he can't get new trains to fit on a rail line and he can't see sense that the people of north-west Sydney, with 200,000 moving in, are completely falling off the radar of state and federal governments. He is the blocker in getting state funding in. He's also the blocker in getting the Feds to fund, because whenever the Feds go to Andrew Constance and say, 'Do we need to do this project?' he says no. Quite frankly, it is well beyond time. This bloke has proved to be a blocker for improved living. He's now got one of his people out of Transport for New South Wales on the Greater Sydney Commission. That was just announced in the last 24 hours or so. We need better, and commuters in my area should not put up with this terrible situation.