Frustrated commuters from Western Sydney’s outer suburbs will benefit from recent key announcements by both major political parties, but a national approach is needed to overcome the massive infrastructure backlog in outer growth areas, according to a key advocacy group.
The Fund our Future campaign has welcomed the Liberal Party’s announcement of a package of cities initiatives and in particular a City Deal for Western Sydney, but representatives say there still needs to be further focus on other outer suburbs around the country – and a long-term fund to match.
“To address the growing disadvantage in fast-growing outer areas, a dedicated infrastructure fund for these areas is still needed,” says Glenn Docherty, who is the Chair of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA), which is behind the campaign.
The NGAA previously revealed its research, carried out by PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers) which draws on the UK’s City Deals approach and experience in Canada. It showed there is an opportunity for Australia to capitalise on the growth in these areas nationally. The work says that with the right investment, these areas could be competitive not only nationally, but globally.
The City Deal for Western Sydney will be centred around Western Sydney Airport and will draw on a new clean energy investment fund and on the $50 million competitive Smart Cities and Suburbs program to support councils to apply cutting-edge technology solutions.
The Fund Our Future campaign is also highlighting projects that could be supported through a dedicated fund.
The Labor party has committed to one Sydney project highlighted by the campaign: a rail link connecting the city’s north-west and south-west, which would service the new airport. If elected, a Shorten Labor Government would contribute $400 million for the rail link.
The Liberal Party’s Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor, has said the airport needs to be “rail-ready from day one” and that there is a need to link the north-south link between Western Sydney, South-Western Sydney and North-Western Sydney.
The Liberal Party has also backed another of the campaign’s projects in Western Sydney: the upgrade of Mulgoa Road in Penrith. The Federal Government has promised $80 million.
The ALP has now backed eight of the campaign projects. The other projects are:
*The Melbourne Roads Package which would include $262 million for four roads highlighted as part of the campaign: Thompsons Road in the south east and O’Herns, Craigieburn and Bridge Inn Roads in the north.
*South Australia’s Gawler rail electrification ($76 million)
*In Perth, the North Lake Bridge over the Kwinana Freeway, linking North Lake Road with Armadale Road ($145 million)
*Also in Perth, $1 billion has been committed for Metronet to build new lines and extend the passenger rail network across Perth, including outer growth areas and one of our priority projects – extending the northern suburbs line to Yanchep.
How to get involved: Sign the petition at www.fundourfuture.info and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @FundourFutureAU or use the hashtag #FundourFutureAU
Media contact: Susi Hamilton, National Growth Areas Alliance, 0448 388 934 or firstname.lastname@example.org