Opinion - Mayor of Penrith, Ross Fowler OAM
- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Monday, 22 June 2015
Recently the State Government’s bill to privatise 49% of the electricity network passed through the senate, creating a $20 billion piggy bank Premier Baird promised would largely be directed at new or improved infrastructure.
Today's budget will deliver an unprecedented $2.1 billion surplus, also tipped to boost infrastructure.
In areas where the pain of inadequate or non-existent infrastructure already runs deep, the anticipation can be felt all the way to Macquarie Street, yet so far areas like Penrith, home to a growing population and a long standing infrastructure backlog - are waiting to learn how much, if any investment will come our way.
Sure there'll be money for 'Western Sydney' but what does that actually mean to all of us who call this region home?
You often hear the term Western Sydney - mainly from government - and while it's a collect all term that helps geographically identify the area being referred to, it doesn't accurately reflect the value of a huge region that bears little resemblance to the place that existed when the term was coined.
Western Sydney's not one place. We're the sum of many parts. We are geographically and culturally diverse. The suburbs of Richmond and Campbelltown are both branded 'Western Sydney' but are over 50kms apart as the crow flies and around 62kms by road.
More than ever, Western Sydney is the stomping ground of innovation, new development and private sector-led transformation. Today there is a real momentum in Western Sydney. It is the place where whole areas are being transformed and much of Sydney's population housed. As we shift from a 20th century resources economy, it is the economoy of the high growth cities that will emerge. Australia would be well served by supporting this new economy of the suburbs by funding infrastructure to fuel it.
In 2005 Penrith embraced the title of Regional City, which formalised a role we'd held for many years servicing a population well beyond our own, people who come to Penrith for education, health and other services, government offices, jobs, entertainment and much more.
Penrith continues to grow - both in terms of our population and the people our city serves. It's time for Penrith to become better equipped to deliver the arts, sports and cultural offering people expect from a Regional City.
Penrith could be better connected to other centres and be more accessible - this includes better road and rail connections, but also improved mobility in and around our City Centre.
We know this and are being proactive. We pulled together developers, property investors and other stakeholders in a landmark project - Penrith Progression - to identify opportunities to revitalise our City Centre with smart growth and new opportunities. The Penrith community and the private sector are growing a city of the future.
Recently, our Council has received more than $300 million in development applications, including four within a week, proposing close to 250 apartments. In some cases apartments are selling 'off the plan', indicating interest is high. Imagine how great it would be if this was matched by government investment.
Restart NSW was established to improve economic growth and productivity in the State by funding infrastructure improvements. Investing in Penrith's City Centre is a good fit. We'd like to sit down with the State Government and Infrastructure NSW on projects within Penrith that can benefit NSW and our increasing role in not only housing the state's growing population, but providing these residents with better access to services, jobs and opportunities.
Information contained within this news release was correct as at Monday, 22 June 2015.