Tuesday, 21 June 2022 15:27

Budget ticks many boxes for Western Sydney — but fails to tick the public transport box Featured

Trainline in Western Sydney Trainline in Western Sydney WSROC

The peak body representing councils in Greater Western Sydney has welcomed the NSW Government’s 2022 Budget investment in cost-of-living measures however is concerned about the budget’s overly road-focused transport investments.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) President, Councillor Barry Calvert, said “The last two years have been challenging for many Western Sydney households. With current pressures on energy, fuel and food prices driving up the cost of living, the NSW Government’s $7.2 billion in relief packages will be welcomed.

“WSROC also welcomes the investment in renewable-powered transport and charging infrastructure and welcomed opportunities to work with the NSW Government to ensure electric vehicle infrastructure is available to local communities and in town centres.

“We were glad to see continued funding for waste management initiatives in the budget, including $286 million for the NSW Waste & Sustainable Materials Strategy and NSW Plastic Action Plan, and $148.4 million to assist with flood waste management.

“Other welcome news is the budget’s $80 million for a working capital fund to provide concessional loans to councils when residents are unable to repay their rates due to hardship from the floods, and to assist in recovery support, and the $3 million for the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme to help councils pay for loans for upgrades and maintenance of infrastructure.

“Of course, WSROC emphasises the need for the state government to work closely with councils who will be responsible for delivering on these programs, and ensure they are adequately supported.

“And it is promising to see the NSW Government investigating novel approaches to social and affordable housing, however the great and growing need in this space will require far more investment over the long term.

“Similarly, spending on affordable housing, electric vehicle charging stations, and waste recovery programs are all long overdue and should represent just the beginning of these important programs.

“We look forward to learning further details about the initiatives announced today and how local government might assist in the delivery of those and other initiatives,” said Councillor Calvert.

“However, it is concerning that funding for transport infrastructure in the budget is too heavily weighted toward motorways and roads, with too little investment in public transport.

“The State Budget allocates more than $16 billion for transport infrastructure in Western Sydney of which only 16 percent will go towards rail, including just over $2.5 billion on the Parramatta Light Rail and $1.7 billion for the continued construction of the Sydney Metro - Westerns Sydney Airport line.

“Nearly all the remainder will be spent on the Western Sydney Growth Roads Project, including the new M12 motorway to support the Western Sydney International Airport and on the Prospect Highway.

“More than 300,000 residents of Greater Western Sydney must travel outside of region to work each day.

“At a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing, and we are transitioning towards Net Zero, we should be encouraging less carbon-intensive, and more affordable mass transit systems, it is disappointing to see so much emphasis still being put on road transport,” he said.


Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2022 15:32

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