The Rudd-Gillard Labor Government must demonstrate some much-needed co-operative federalism on transport infrastructure to provide relief for Western Sydney residents and businesses, said Western Sydney Senator Marise Payne, Shadow Minister for COAG and Modernising the Federation.
Senator Payne said Western Sydney residents and small business owners could take no comfort from an Infrastructure Australia report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that does not list a single project in Western Sydney as shovel-ready.
“Commuters waiting for late trains at Penrith station or sitting on a gridlocked M4 Motorway have been crying out for better roads and rail but are not likely to see them in the forseeable future,” Senator Payne said.
“The NSW Government has failed Western Sydney for years on transport infrastructure and when you combine its record of failure with the Rudd-Gillard Government’s bungled delivery of school halls and roof insulation, there is no cause for optimism.
“The last time Western Sydney residents were even close to getting improved transport services was the Western Metro line proposal that would have cut journey times by a paltry three minutes, but that was shelved at a cost of $500 million to taxpayers.
“The NSW Government is finally due to build the overpriced South-West Rail Link to Leppington but residents in the burgeoning North West corridor will have to wait 15 years for the Epping to Rouse Hill Rail link.”
Senator Payne said the Federal Government must work together to provide better transport infrastructure to Western Sydney, which is one of the biggest economic hubs in the nation.
“The Rudd-Gillard Government came to office promising ‘co-operative federalism’ and a more co-ordinated approach to infrastructure planning but all we have seen is more of the same from state and federal governments, only this time with a higher price tag,” Senator Payne said.
Senator Payne also said Western Sydney residents would not be fooled by new Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s cynical attempt to ease their concerns over rapid population growth in outer Sydney.
“Western Sydney residents will see the creation of a Ministry for ‘Sustainable Population’ as opposed to just ‘Population’ as a continuation of the Kevin Rudd spin cycle,” Senator Payne said.
“They just want the federal and state governments to work together and get on with the job of improving our transport system.”