Is rail on the agenda?

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The enormous potential of Western Sydney has once again been in the spotlight this week and our bid to secure more for our community is gaining traction.

At the State of the Region address Premier Mike Baird spoke of significant infrastructure spending by his Government.

"The Premier spoke of the light rail projects in Sydney and Parramatta, WestConnex and he referenced the $3.6 billion roads package to support the new airport at Badgerys Creek," Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said.

Today NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced the creation of a new Western Sydney Priority Growth Area around the airport site to plan for new jobs, homes and infrastructure.

"However, the glaring omission in both these announcements is the commitment to the much needed airport rail link that will also connect the North and South West growth centres," Cr McKeown said.

"There is a golden opportunity to get this right, before the airport is built, to boost jobs and growth in a region that's already paying the price of lost productivity through long commutes and inadequate transport access."

Council has been calling on the Federal Government to construct rail ahead of the airport.  Today Bill Shorten committed the Labor Government to fast-tracking a rail link to Badgerys Creek airport if elected.

"So why hold off on a rail link when everyone agrees it will become necessary and will cost a lot more to retrofit later?

"Yes $3.6 billion has been directed to roads that will serve the airport but we want infrastructure spending to go further. Passenger rail from the airport to the Western Line and the expediting of the Outer Sydney Orbital are two transport links that will connect innovative developments that are dense with jobs, even before the airport opens."

The NSW Government has invited Cr McKeown, along with the Mayor of Liverpool, to be part of the new Priority Growth Area planning partnership to ensure local and state planning considerations are taken into account in future planning.

"This is welcome news. Since the airport was announced, we've been asking for a seat at the table to ensure Penrith benefits from Australia's most exciting major development in decades," Cr McKeown said.

"There is enormous potential for significant jobs to be created in the Priority Growth Area but the opportunities are much broader than that. I will be using this opportunity to highlight the need for connections via road and rail, to the airport and the North and South West Growth Centres. If we get it right from the start, it won't only be airport passengers benefiting but thousands of employees who want to work in new jobs, closer to home and within an easy commute.

"We recognise there are huge opportunities for Western Sydney and indeed, Penrith's residents as a result of the airport construction and operation but this will only happen if it's fully integrated and connected with the region. An airport in isolation is not a solution."

Download a copy of Council's Western Sydney Airport - Maximising benefits and minimising impacts document.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Thursday, 8 October 2015.