Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:00

Support for vulnerable communities tops Western Sydney election wish-list Featured

Greenfield housing estate development in Western Sydney Greenfield housing estate development in Western Sydney WSROC

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), the peak body representing councils in the Greater Western Sydney region, is urging politicians to prioritise the liveability, resilience and well-being of our most vulnerable communities.

The call comes in the lead up to the 2023 NSW State elections to be held on Saturday, 25 March.

WSROC represents the more than 1,000,000 citizens of Blacktown City, Blue Mountains City, Cumberland City, Hawkesbury City, and Liverpool City.

“Our member councils have identified the issues that matter to the people of Western Sydney, and which the next NSW Government should address to benefit not only our communities but the State and Australia more broadly,” said WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert.

“Our chief priority is support for vulnerable communities. And the first step to doing that is ensuring local government resilience, so that in partnership with the NSW Government councils can address the issues of most concern to our communities, including:

  • Housing affordability,
  • Climate change and resilience,
  • Waste management and resource recovery, and
  • Transport.

“Housing affordability, for example, is a tremendous concern for Western Sydney communities,” said Councillor Calvert.

“We need the NSW Government to invest in both affordable and social housing to ensure a more stable life for communities, so we are calling on the incoming government to commit to clear, transparent delivery of more social and affordable homes in Western Sydney.”

“We are urging our state leaders to support calls for a National Housing Strategy that outlines a national vision and coordinated action on affordability.”

“This could include direct investment by state governments in affordable housing and showcasing good examples of affordable housing. This would also give recognition to affordable housing as infrastructure.

“And it’s time for a review of tenancy laws.  Issues that tenants are confronting every day in Western Sydney include high rents, shortages of properties, disputes over bonds, no ground terminations, a lack of social and community housing properties, delays in repairs and many other matters.”

Councillor Calvert said that Western Sydney communities are being battered by climate change, having endured unprecedented bushfires, floods and heat stress.

“We expect governments to work with our councils and communities to help Western Sydney adapt to a changing climate, , manage extreme events, and implement policies and programs to achieve our emission targets.

“For example, by introducing support programs to accelerate rooftop solar uptake and household batteries with dedicated initiatives to support lower-income households and renters.  

“And by supporting Western Sydney’s transition to electric vehicles.

“Local government can work with State and Federal government to map future workforce needs for emerging renewable energy industries and create new job opportunities those industries undergoing climate transition.

“Heat stress kills more Australians than floods, fires and storms combined. We need the NSW Government to make heat resilience a Premier’s Priority.

“Clearly, too, we need governments to support councils and communities with the timely delivery of more resilient infrastructure after natural disasters.

Councillor Calvert highlighted that a key issue at the centre of council financial resilience, climate resilience, and disaster recovery is the effective management of waste.

“Councils and communities want to see a transition to more sustainable waste management. Sydney’s landfills are quickly reaching capacity, a situation accelerated by the enormous amount of disaster waste councils collected following the bushfires and flooding events of the last three years.

“Effective processing of organics waste is also essential for reducing our state’s emissions but doesn’t come free. Councils need support to transition to more sustainable waste management systems.

“WSROC is again calling on the NSW Government to ensure Waste Levy funds collected for the purpose of diverting waste from landfill and supporting resource recovery are returned to councils to support delivery of waste and recycling services and waste avoidance initiatives.

“The NSW Government collects about $800 million annually through the Waste Levy — but only a fraction of the money finds its way to recycling and resource recovery programs,” he said.

“This money is desperately needed to ensure a robust, sustainable waste management industry,” said Councillor Calvert.

WSROC is also urging the NSW Government to deliver “an end-state public transport network that ensures Western Sydney residents have access to the same level of service as other parts of the city.”

“Western Sydney residents are some of the most car-dependent in our city, with costs of fuel rising, and Western Sydney workers paying tolls to the tune of $3,500 per year to get to and from work.

“Finally, with Western Sydney Airport due to open in the next term of government, WSROC is calling for the immediate release of detail on the flight paths and outline a clear package of environmental and noise mitigation treatments and controls to minimise impact on our communities.

“In 2015, WSROC conducted a detailed review of the Western Sydney Airport EIS. It found significant shortcomings in detail and protections for local communities.

“Eight years later, these shortcomings have still not been addressed.  

“Of course, a resilient local government sector is essential to ensuring the liveability, resilience and wellbeing of our most vulnerable communities.

“To that end, we call on the NSW Government to establish an expert panel to investigate and report on the NSW Government's financial relations affecting local government to ensure NSW councils and the Government can work together to build a stronger economy, encourage reform across all three levels of government, especially in the policy framework, and ultimately deliver better value for communities.”


To download a full copy of WSROC's NSW 2023 Election Issues Brief, follow the link.

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2023 10:29

Filter By