Friday, 31 May 2024 08:26

President’s Message: Some excellent initiatives and outcomes – and a sad loss… Featured

WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert WSROC

I was pleased to see the NSW Legislative Council has taken on board a swathe of recommendations from WSROC member councils at two parliamentary committee inquiries dealing with matters of concern for Western Sydney.

WSROC recently submitted wide-ranging proposals to the Legislative Council’s inquiry into 'Current and future public transport needs in Western Sydney’ (Portfolio Committee No. 6 - Transport and the Arts), chaired by Ms Cate Faehrmann MLC.

Many of the proposals contained in WSROC’s submission are acknowledged in the cross-party Committee’s report, which makes 20 recommendations to improve public transport services in Western Sydney, including building at least 30 new railway stations in Sydney’s west to boost investment, create local jobs, reduce car dependency, and improve access to services and leisure facilities.

In its testimony before the Committee, WSROC emphasised the inequitable provision of transport options and infrastructure in Western Sydney, in particular the unfair distribution of public transport services between the eastern and western parts of Sydney.

For more detail, and to download both WSROC’s submission to the Portfolio Committee No. 6 and the Committee report, follow this link

WSROC has also provided evidence to the NSW Legislative Council’s ‘Parliamentary Inquiry into the Planning system and the impacts of climate change on the environment and communities’ (Portfolio Committee No. 7 - Planning and Environment), chaired by Ms Sue Higginson MLC.

We presented before the hearing held in Campbelltown on the Monday 6 May alongside two of our member councils, Blacktown City and Liverpool City.

In our submission, we emphasised the severity and scale of potential impacts of extreme heat events on our communities, economy, and environment, and urged the committee to:

  • Improve home and building standards to support thermal safety now and into the future,
  • Embed urban heat island mitigation into state planning policy, and
  • Plan for extreme heat and heatwaves,

Of major concern to WSROC members is councils’ limited influence on planning outcomes – with more than half of residential development in Western Sydney approved via state government planning pathways.

While WSROC emphasised the need to address heat in the planning system, our Liverpool City partners focused on the challenges of flooding and water management, and the need to better fund local infrastructure essential to climate resilience.

Our submission emphasises the need to consider long-term costs to councils and communities where climate change is inadequately addressed.

Blacktown City Council made the point that accelerated delivery of housing must be supported by funding for services and infrastructure to support those communities.

Given the years it takes to implement change in the planning framework and the impending deadlines for delivery of specific climate mitigation actions change must occur quickly and be supported by change to NSW Government planning policies.

I firmly believe that without other levels of government working in partnership with councils, these vital outcomes are unlikely to be delivered.

To view WRSOC’s submission to the Portfolio Committee No. 7,  follow this link

I should also commend the WSROC staff who compiled both submissions for their excellent insights and the thought and care put into researching them.


Infrastructure boost

Another welcome development has been the Federal Government’s announcement of a $1.9 billion investment boost to infrastructure projects in the region, much of it supplemented by substantial NSW Government allocations.

The funding boost includes:

  • A $500 million investment in Mamre Road Stage 2 (added to the $253.6 million allocated by the NSW Government for Stage 1 of the project).
  • A $400 million investment to deliver priority sections of the Elizabeth Drive upgrade. This builds on the NSW Government’s $200 million commitment to Elizabeth Drive safety and enabling works.
  • A further $115 million Federal Government commitment for Mulgoa Road Stage 2 which will allow the NSW Government to move ahead with upgrades to the pinch point there.
  • A new $500 million Federal investment for Richmond Road, Garfield Road and Memorial Avenue that will supplement the NSW Government’s existing $385 million commitment.
  • A $100 million Federal investment to deliver new infrastructure to support bus services to the Western Sydney International Airport.
  • A $20 million Federal investment to support the delivery of the final business case for Stage 1 of the Western Sydney Freight Line, and
  • Additional Federal funding to continue such vital projects as Appin Road, Spring Farm Parkway and bus infrastructure for the future Western Sydney International Airport

Joint investments on such scales by the NSW and Federal governments across Western Sydney not only reflect the growing importance Western Sydney’s local economy, the third largest in Australia, but are essential to supporting the unprecedented rates of population growth in the region.

For that reason, WSROC’s advocacy is increasingly focused on impressing on all levels of government of the need for and benefits from working in partnership, including with local government.


Western Sydney Regional Litter Prevention Plan

Meanwhile, WSROC and seven participating Western Sydney councils are teaming up to action an ambitious Western Sydney Regional Litter Prevention Plan for 2023-2027.

To ensure maximum impact under the plan, WSROC has been allocated $450,000 in grant funding by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) through the Litter Prevention Grants Program to coordinate the Western Sydney-wide litter reduction effort.

The seven councils participating in this effort are Blacktown City, Cumberland City, Fairfield City, Hawkesbury City, The Hills Shire, Liverpool City, and City of Parramatta Councils.

Litter costs Western Sydney ratepayers more than $31 million dollars each year, with councils cleaning up and disposing of truckloads of littered items across the region.

WSROC will work in partnership with the seven participating councils to:

  • Develop coordinated litter prevention messaging.
  • Identify standardised litter management approaches.
  • Increase the community’s personal responsibility to prevent litter.
  • Work with other landowners and retailers to implement measure to prevent littering; and
  • Support councils with resources, knowledge, monitoring and evaluation, among other tasks.

For more information about this latest excellent initiative of WSROC’s Western Sydney Regional Waste Strategy team, go to this link.

I would particularly like to commend WSROC’s ‘Regional Waste Strategy’ project team members whose excellent work has made the Litter Prevention Plan a reality.


Councillor Tony Bleasdale OAM

Finally, and on a sad note, I would like to pay tribute to the late mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Tony Bleasdale OAM (pictured) who passed away on 3 May this year.Tony Bleasedale

First and foremost, our thoughts are with Councillor Bleasdale’s wife Nina, his children and their extended family.

Councillor Bleasdale served as a councillor on Blacktown City Council from 1996 and then as Mayor of Blacktown until his passing. He previously served as Deputy Mayor between 2016 and 2019.

He was appointed as WSROC Board Director in October 2019, and then elected as our Senior Vice President in November 2019, serving in that capacity until 2022, and then continuing to act as a WSROC Board Director until his passing.

In 2010, Councillor Bleasdale was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to the community.

Councillor Bleasdale’s warm and engaging personality led him to forge many friendships across Sydney after arriving from the United Kingdom in 1963.

He worked for 40 years in the building industry, and with tremendous drive and energy, established his own successful labour hire business.

A strong advocate for and a champion of Western Sydney and supporter of WSROC, Councillor Bleasdale served the community he loved with immense energy and commitment.

Councillor Bleasdale was especially proud of the cultural diversity of Western Sydney more widely and was passionate about delivering services and opportunities for its residents and businesses.

Tony Bleasdale was loved by the community he so ably served and he loved it back, with a generous heart and a genuine commitment to a brighter future.


Barry Calvert — President, WSROC

Last modified on Friday, 31 May 2024 08:49

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