Tuesday, 31 January 2017 11:21

Message from the President: New Premier, new priorities

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali. WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali.

We have seen one of the hottest Januarys on record, both in weather and politics. We now have the fourth NSW Premier since 2011.

NSW Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, has already emphasised her intention to ramp up infrastructure delivery for projects such as hospitals, schools, sports fields and transport as well as identifying the key priority of housing affordability.

To meet the proposed population growth of over a million people across Western Sydney over the next twenty years will require a massive amount of infrastructure assets including roads, rail and community facilities.  This certainly means the new Premier will need to ‘go harder’ than her predecessor.

Western Sydney-siders certainly see their region ‘booming’ in both population and economic terms.  However with this comes growth pains such as worsening commutes, a congested health system, housing pressure, and significant amenity discrepancies between established, and new ‘growth’ communities.

The Premier has rightly identified housing affordability as a key priority for her time in office, but liveability is equally important. And there is no reason we can’t have both.

WSROC wants to see a Berejiklian Government take the lead on long-term issues such as decentralising Sydney’s jobs market; heat-smart sustainable planning; building healthier, more well-connected communities – initiatives that will leave a legacy for generations to come.

I believe local government needs to be involved in this process – as a valued partner shaping our city at the strategic level.

Councils have recently been positioned as a barrier to State Government efficiency, when in reality local and state roles are so firmly entwined that one can’t effectively function without the other.

State-level strategic direction is essential, but there comes a point where strategies need to be implemented on the ground.

Councils live and breathe communities. They are a wealth of local knowledge – the kind that should be informing state-level strategies in the planning stages – ensuring these strategies are not only efficient but effective. 

With a new Local Government Minister in the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, now is the time to revisit the relationship between councils and the State Government. To ensure these two levels of government are in sync and ready to meet the challenge of building a better city for our residents.

 

Stephen Bali, WSROC President

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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 14:03