Friday, 19 August 2016 14:18

Luke Foley addresses WSROC Board

Left to Right:  Mr Charles Casuscelli CEO WSROC, The Hon Luke Foley, MP Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Tony Hadchiti WSROC President Left to Right: Mr Charles Casuscelli CEO WSROC, The Hon Luke Foley, MP Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Tony Hadchiti WSROC President

Leader of the Opposition and Member for Auburn, the Hon. Luke Foley met with Western Sydney councils at the WSROC Board meeting at Windsor this month to discuss topics ranging from local government reform, to local infrastructure projects, affordable housing and skills shortages.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said “It was great to have Mr Foley speak to Western Sydney councils on a number of issues affecting the region.

“As an elected representative for the Western Sydney seat of Auburn, Mr Foley is keenly aware of many issues faced by our councils and their local communities.

“Building local jobs, Western Sydney Airport, the Greater Sydney Commission, local government funding reform, skills shortages, and regional liveability were all on the agenda,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

Mr Foley said he was glad to meet with the group.

“WSROC has a deservedly terrific reputation as non-partisan advocates for the region. I think that’s very important,” he said.

Mr Foley identified growing local jobs, transport, Western Sydney Airport, arts, education and social housing as some of the key issues for Western Sydney, and stressed the importance of building up the region’s cities, particularly Parramatta, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Penrith.

“The top priority, and indeed every subsequent priority relates to this one: growing jobs,” he said.

“If we’re talking about the quality of life, the very liveability for the inhabitants of Western Sydney, a region of two million people that will be home to three million residents in 15 years’ time, we must focus on growing jobs in the region.

“It’s the only true congestion‐buster for Sydney.

“Of course I think the public sector has a contribution to make here… the public sector can’t and won’t create anywhere near half a million jobs in Western Sydney over the next 25 years, but it can provide a base for private sector funds, investments and projects to follow,” said Mr Foley.

On Badgerys Creek, Mr Foley said “The ambition should be to build Austraila’s finest airport, one that connects 3 million Western Sydney residents with the rest of the world.

“This cannot be an airport that’s a mere spillover for the flights that Kingsford Smith Airport doesn’t want, or can’t handle.

“I’m calling for the Western Sydney Airport to be exempted from those restrictive bilateral air service agreements that inhibit the growth of airports,” he said.

However Mr Foley noted that this does not mean that Badgerys Creek can’t be built with adequate protections for the local community.

Mr Foley also impressed the importance the Greater Sydney Commission will play in planning a successful Greater Western Sydney region.

“I don’t want to see the Transport, Roads, Planning, Education departments and agencies acting in isolation…let’s give Sarah Hill and Lucy and her Commissioners the authority they need to plan Western Sydney’s future properly.

“We have to create 300,000 school places in NSW over the next 15 years, more than half of them will be needed in Western Sydney. Once again, I think the Greater Sydney Commission can help here in bringing departments and agencies together, to invest in the future education of our kids in this region,” he said.

Finally, Mr Foley noted that arts and cultural development in the region should be an ongoing priority.

“Let’s not make the mistake of thinking the Powerhouse relocation ticks the box. The underinvestment in arts and culture for Western Sydney has gone on for far too long,” he said.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said “We thank the Leader of the Opposition for sharing his time with us.

“Mr Foley highlighted a number of critical issues for Western Sydney that have attracted bi-partisan support from both sides of state parliament. This is a good thing, because a united approach will be what’s needed to build the region our residents want and deserve,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

Last modified on Friday, 19 August 2016 15:31