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Our region needs fair dinkum deal on infrastructure

The Macarthur region was dealt a heavy blow with the Government’s Western Sydney Cities Deal, argues the Labor member for Macarthur, DR MIKE FREELANDER.

This deal, once again, proved that the State and Federal Liberal National governments have the wrong priorities for Macarthur.

In recent years South West Sydney has experienced exponential growth, with governments allowing almost uncapped development whilst at the same time failing to provide the necessary infrastructure.

The government has been using their City Deals program as mere political stunts.

One has to look no further than our Western Sydney Cities deal; local councils were asked to sign on to a City Deal without knowing what the content of it would be – Blacktown City was left out of the picture entirely.

Had the Western Sydney Deal provided real investments for the infrastructure that Macarthur so desperately needs, I would be singing a different tune.

Alas, the deal provided very little for our region.

A good place for the State and Federal Coalition Governments to start would have been a commitment to building the vital rail infrastructure that is necessary to connect Macarthur to the new Western Sydney Airport.

Yet those currently occupying the treasury benches in

Canberra and Macquarie Street are still yet to commit to this vital link.

Federal Labor on the other hand understands that a government cannot simply allow an aerotropolis to be built without an adequate rail connection in place.

We have no less than $3 billion committed to begin the construction of this vital public transport infrastructure.

Our commitment will ensure that a rail connection will run from Leppington through Bringelly onto Badgerys Creek, and will also ensure that Macarthur is connected via a rail connection to St Marys in the north.

I’ve also successfully been able to secure further commitments for

Macarthur, through Labor’s $300 million commuter car parking fund.

A Shorten Labor Government is committed to providing no less than $12 million to improve parking for commuters at both Leppington and Campbelltown stations; we’ll also partner with a Daley NSW Labor Government to secure more funding on these projects.

Unfortunately, the Cities Deal provided nothing for Macarthur residents, in terms of vital public transport infrastructure.

Members of the government, it appears, are always happy to come out to Macarthur and perform the easy jobs.

They’ll be present at things such school presentations, or to announce funding for a bridge in Wedderburn (a commitment that I was happy to secure through working with the council and personally lobbying the minister), though they fail to come to the table on vital infrastructure and environmental matters.

Those in power in Canberra and Macquarie Street continually ignore the needs of our region, yet are quick to perform PR stunts to pretend otherwise.

It is irresponsible for the Morrison and Berejiklian governments to continue to allow mass development in our suburbs, without investing in the infrastructure and services our residents so desperately need.

The next time a minister of either government comes out to our region, I hope it is to actually provide some real investment to enhance, not worsen, the lives of Macarthur locals.

*Contributions to this column are welcome. Please contact Eric Kontos if you wish to have your opinion piece published.

 

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