Tuesday, 26 February 2019 10:36

President’s Message: Election advocacy

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert

With both the NSW and federal elections not far off, WSROC is busy advocating on our region’s priority issues. The following issues, as identified by WSROC’s members, will be front and centre of our advocacy for the coming months.

 

Waste and recycling

Rapid urban development and population growth are generating more waste than ever before, whilst at the same time reducing the land available for waste and recycling infrastructure. On top of this, changes to waste and recycling markets caused by the China National Sword policy, Alternative Waste Treatment (AWT) regulatory changes and the container deposit scheme are creating significant challenges.

Councils require increased support during this period of rapid change. In the last five years, WSROC councils received a return of just 8 per cent on the waste levy they paid to the NSW Government. WSROC will be advocating for the greater waste levy funds to be returned to Western Sydney.

 

Urban heat

Extreme heat has severe impacts for our region’s health, environment, infrastructure and economy. The record-breaking January just past was a timely reminder that we must do better at building more heat-resilient communities.

This includes better planning regulations to prevent urban heat build-up and reduce reliance on expensive air-conditioning, protecting and expanding greenspace, adapting our infrastructure to respond to heat, and ensuring our residents know what to do to keep themselves and their families safe during a heat wave. WSROC is calling for heat to be made a new Premier’s Priority.

 

Greater Western Sydney Transport Network

Despite recent investments in infrastructure such as the Sydney Metro, Parramatta Light Rail and promised North-South Rail Link, public transport in Western Sydney remains grossly inadequate for the size, current population and projected future growth of the region.

In 2018, the NSW Government released its Future Transport 2056 Strategy. While this identifies many of Western Sydney’s key infrastructure needs, the timeframe for implementation is far too long. Western Sydney cannot wait 35 years for these links to be established. We are calling for accelerated delivery of the Future Transport 2056 Strategy.

 

Liveability

Funding adequate levels of social infrastructure such as sports facilities, community centres, libraries and swimming pools is a major challenge for local governments, particularly those in rapidly growing areas such as Western Sydney. If Western Sydney is to build liveable communities, we need to have a sensible discussion about more sustainable sources of funding for the delivery of social infrastructure.

Councils’ have three primary sources of funding for the delivery of liveability infrastructure:

  • Rates: Which have been pegged at unsustainable levels for several years now.
  • Grant funding: Which is short term and is designed to meet the priorities of the state or federal government rather than the local community.
  • Section 7.11 contributions: Section 7.11 contributions barely cover necessary works such as roads and infrastructure and cannot be used for the things that make neighbourhoods great places to live – such as community centres, pools, libraries, or play equipment in parks. Furthermore, Section 7.11 contributions can only be used for the area that is being developed, which means established areas miss out.

WSROC is asking the elected Government to address the rapidly growing social infrastructure backlog across our city by supporting funding reforms.

 


 

Last modified on Friday, 15 March 2019 11:14