Monday, 24 June 2019 13:11

NSW Budget surplus while councils foot the bill

Parramatta aerial image Parramatta aerial image WSROC image library

Media release, 18 June, 2019


The NSW Government Budget released last week – while upholding previous commitments to investment in Western Sydney – was disappointing, for inaction on key issues impacting local councils and their communities.

WSROC President, Cr Barry Calvert, said “Local councils have been left high and dry responding to NSW’s waste and recycling crisis.

"We have been struck with last minute Emergency Services Levy increases, and in the context of rate-capping, are struggling to keep up with delivering services needed by our growing communities.

“This Budget offers no support for councils facing increases to the Emergency Services Levy, despite the significant impact this will have on council budgets.

"In the context of a $1 billion surplus, this is disgraceful. It is not local government’s role to fund the NSW Government’s budget surpluses. There are limits to what local governments can afford,” he said.

“Similarly, it was a business-as-usual approach to waste management in the state. No additional funding was allocated to support much-needed planning for local and sustainable management of waste,” said Clr Calvert.

“However, WSROC welcomes an investment of $162 million in public open space. This will contribute to improved liveability and mitigating the impacts of urban heat in our region.

We urge the Government to consult with WSROC and its members on the implementation of this investment.

“Unfortunately, alleviation of Western Sydney’s road-dependence and its associated impact on liveability has also not been prioritised in this Budget.

WSROC and other organisations have called for acceleration of public transport investment, including Stage 2 Parramatta Light Rail, and it is, again, disappointing to see there was no additional funding for this essential link,” Cr Calvert said.

“Western Sydney commuters will welcome the promised $50 Opal card cap. This has been an ongoing priority for WSROC since the cap was removed in 2016.

"It would be even more beneficial if Western Sydney communities could also look forward to acceleration of the Western Sydney Transport Network, which will improve public transport access across the region.

“Also pleasing to see is the Government’s commitment to duplicating the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Katoomba; linking the industries of the Central West with the growing Western Sydney region.

“While it is encouraging to see increased investment in TAFE, the planned location of a Super-TAFE in the Western Sydney aerotropolis must consider accessibility, particularly for schoolkids who don’t have a driver’s licence.

Public transport connections to nearby centres including Liverpool, Fairfield and Blacktown do not currently exist, and are critical.

“WSROC welcomes new investment in the region’s health, including doubling the Active Kids vouchers, which helps Western Sydney children gain better access to sport and fitness, setting them up for healthier habits and tackling chronic disease in the region,” said Cr Calvert.

“The NSW Government has upheld its City Deal commitments with investment in local council projects, including rejuvenation of Hawkesbury’s historic town centres and upgrade of the Fairfield Showground, $15 million for community initiatives in the Blue Mountains, and a new recreational hub in Lurnea,” said Cr Calvert.

“WSROC looks forward to working with the NSW Government to deliver more liveable, sustainable Western Sydney communities, however councils must be equal partners in the process.

"Priorities such as waste management and community planning require a coordinated response from all levels of government and demand a proportional level of investment.”



[ENDS]

 

Media contact: Kate O'Connell, 02 9671 4333 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 August 2019 16:00

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