Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Infrastructure Australia Bypasses Western Sydney.

It looks like the Federal Infrastructure spending announced yesterday, described by the SMH as a 'once-in-a-generation' opportunity, has completely missed Western Sydney as far as public transport is concerned.

It's quite mind boggling actually, considering the growth that Western Sydney is experiencing as both in-fill and green-fields developments. Look at this quote from the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
"Almost all LGAs in Sydney experienced population growth in the year to June
2008. Nine of the ten LGAs with the largest population growth in NSW were within
the Sydney SD. Blacktown (C) in western Sydney had the largest population
increase of any LGA in NSW, up 5,300 people, followed by the adjacent LGA of
Parramatta (C) (4,000 people). Large population growth also occurred in Baulkham
Hills (A) (3,300 people) in the north-west, Liverpool (C) (3,200 people) in the
south-west, and in the inner-city LGA of Sydney (C) (2,500 people). Within the
Sydney SD, LGAs which experienced population decline in 2007-08 were Ashfield
(A), in the inner west, as well as Manly (A) and Lane Cove (A) in northern

The State population growth is only 1.1% and the national rate is 1.7%. Most of Western Sydney council areas exceed these rates including Auburn (3.1%), Blacktown (1.9%), Camden (2.2%), Holroyd (2.1%), Parramatta (2.5%) and Baulkham Hills (2%). Blacktown has the largest population, by almost a third again, of any of the councils in NSW, (Blacktown, 291,612; Sutherland is the next biggest with 215, 868).

Given the abandoned and postponed railway infrastructure projects and the huge shift of resources to the inner-city based Metro project by the State, and now, the lack of investment proposed by the Commonwealth, we have to wonder what this will mean for Sydney, Australia's largest and busiest city.

Even bus stops, a microscopic proposal in the scheme of things, couldn't get a go.

At least the urban freeway projects didn't get preference over the public transport infrastructure - but that is hardly anything to celebrate.

It's understandable that Infrastructure Australia won't want to provide funding to projects assessed as deficient, but this "you aren't ready so you miss out" approach is not responsible or in the national interest.

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