Wednesday, 08 February 2023 11:36

Western Sydney welcomes cash boost — but much more is needed Featured

Western Sydney welcomes cash boost — but much more is needed Western Sydney welcomes cash boost — but much more is needed WSROC

The peak body representing councils in Greater Western Sydney, the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), has today commended the NSW Government on its announcement of more than $250 million in new project funding for Western Sydney councils, community groups, and the Western Sydney University — but warns that much more will be needed.

The $250 million has been earmarked for a total of 16 projects, including new parks and walking tracks, youth hubs, libraries, school upgrades and sporting precincts.

The money is being provided under the NSW Government’s WestInvest program.

“Some $5 billion from the NSW Government’s WestConnex toll-road sale was to be reinvested to help address Western Sydney’s infrastructure and liveability needs,” said WSROC President, Clr Barry Calvert.

“However, it should be pointed out that it is estimated Western Sydney residents will be paying $276 billion in tolls over the next 40 years.”

“That is money going to a private company, paid by people who are suffering an already high cost of living.

“If the WestConnex roads had stayed in public hands that income could have been available for hospitals, schools and public transport.

“WSROC’s own exhaustive advocacy has achieved significant outcomes via the WestInvest program, including securing more than $536 million in reinvestment from the NSW Government’s WestConnex motorway scheme sale proceeds for a range of projects, including:

  • More than $125 million for projects in the Liverpool City Council region, including high street activations, a major park project and the Carnes Hill Aquatic and Leisure Centre project.
  • $121 million for the Hawkesbury City Council community for upgrades to cycleways, the Oasis Aquatic and Leisure Centre and Richmond Swimming Centre, the North Richmond Community Precinct and other projects.
  • $25 million for the Blue Mountains City region, including creating active transport links, kilometres of walking trails and shared paths, and the new Cultural Hub for the Eleanor Dark Foundation
  • More than $260 million for projects in the Blacktown City Council area, including the Blacktown Aquatic Centre redevelopment, the new First Nations Community Centre at Mount Druitt, the Seven Hills Community Resource Hub, and the Mount Druitt Swimming Centre redevelopment,

— among many other projects.

“However, while this latest $250 million in project funding from the NSW Government is a welcome boost, it is still minimal compared to the projected $276 billion in WestConnex toll charges to be paid by Western Sydney motorists over the next 40 years.

“Greater Western Sydney’s population includes some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in the State — and is growing at such a rate that it is expected to increase from its current 2.4 million to 4.1 million in 2041.

“WSROC has identified over $456 million in additional amenities needed by our member communities, ranging from traffic lights, to recreational facilities, to open space reserves, to State Emergency Service (SES) facilities and more.

“Another round of WestInvest funding will be needed just in the next two years to address Western Sydney’s unfunded social infrastructure, especially for growth areas.

“According to yesterday’s announcement by the NSW Treasurer, Matt Kean, the total WestInvest funding allocated to projects so far is some $3.45 billion, with more to come,” said Clr Calvert.

“We will be certainly looking to ensure that the people of Western Sydney will be getting their fair share of that — because nobody can dispute the need.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2023 12:22

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