Wednesday, 04 May 2016 09:58

Budget generous but will not deliver Smart Cities for the West

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Media release, 4 May, 2016

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has applauded the federal government’s commitment to infrastructure investment in Western Sydney but has cautioned against a passive approach to job creation.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said overall Western Sydney has been well catered for in the federal budget through key infrastructure investments in the Parramatta Light Rail, WestConnex and scoping of a rail link to the Western Sydney Airport.

“This investment is completely warranted, and we would argue, well overdue,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Western Sydney is Australia’s fastest growing region and is expected to double in size over the next 20 years. There is no question that these infrastructure investments need to be made now if we are to cope with increased population in the future,” he said.

“In the spirit of the Smart Cities Plan, WSROC would have liked to have seen a commitment to scoping cross-regional transport links connecting the West’s regional centres and key employment lands.

“Such links are essential if we are to build up our regional centres, attract investment and boost jobs growth; allowing the 30 minute ideal to become a reality for Western Sydney residents.

“Cross regional projects such as the north-south rail line stretching from Rouse Hill to Campbelltown, and the Parramatta to Liverpool metro link, connecting the South-West’s key employment zones in Holroyd and Fairfield will be essential for driving investment in these centres and building the West’s 30 minute cities,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Small business was an obvious winner in last-night’s budget; benefiting not only from tax cuts and an extension of instant asset write-off, but also from significant infrastructure spending to reduce traffic congestion, which currently costs our city $5 billion dollars every year,” he said.

“Greater Western Sydney’s $100 billion dollar economy rides on the back of small businesses which make up 97 per cent of all enterprise in the West.

“Supporting small business is a great way to boost the Western Sydney economy and encourage innovation, however we cannot rely on tax cuts as the sole driver of jobs growth in the region. Western Sydney is suffering a deficit of well over 200,000 jobs, a deficit that is expected to grow significantly over the next decade,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“A passive approach to jobs creation, including tax cuts and the release of new employment lands has not worked to generate the required number of jobs in the past, and is unlikely to do so in the future.

“Western Sydney has seen a very modest increase in local jobs since 2001, but the region’s growth means that the ratio of jobs to residents has fallen consistently since the turn of the century,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“We need an intensive, dedicated approach to job creation in Western Sydney if we are to reduce the number of residents travelling significant distances – and well over 30 minutes – to work each day,” he said.

“WSROC looks forward to seeing how federal, state and local governments can work together through the Smart Cities Plan to take a more active line on job creation in Western Sydney,” he said.

“The government’s targeted Youth Jobs PATH program, which will assist more than 100,000 young people find and maintain employment is a fantastic example of a dedicated approach to building employment,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“WSROC has long advocated for a comprehensive approach to connecting young people with traineeships, apprenticeships and jobs. Building basic workplace skills and supporting their transition from school to employment,” he said.

“The PATH program is an exciting new initiative, and we look forward to seeing it in action across Western Sydney,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

[ENDS]

Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, 02 9671 4333 (ext. 118), 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Related content: Smart Cities: What's the deal for local government?

Last modified on Thursday, 05 May 2016 13:03

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