December 19, 2014
A Plan for Growing Sydney
Contribution to the debate from Penrith Councillor Ross Fowler OAM
Friday, 19 December 2014
The NSW Government’s strategy document “A Plan for Growing Sydney” aligns with the position and the actions of Penrith City Council.
With approximately 195,000 residents, Penrith is a regional city in Western Sydney serving a wider population of 500,000.
In recognising Western Sydney as the key to Sydney’s success, the report acknowledges that Sydney’s greatest opportunities, and its most pressing challenges, lie in Western Sydney. Currently an economic powerhouse and a great place to live, Western Sydney has the potential to be even more successful, productive and liveable.
For too long the planning of Sydney has resulted in a separation of where people live and where they work. Arguing against this, Penrith Council has called for the easing of congestion and better transportation to provide the community with seamless and swift movement between home and work. We have advocated for infrastructure including schools, hospitals and open spaces to accommodate the growing population. The Strategy picks up on the need for the whole of Sydney to have more amenity and increased productivity.
Western Sydney needs to be easier to traverse to ensure more jobs are readily accessible for our committed workforce. The report acknowledges this and we look forward to the detailed timing on the delivery of much needed roads and public transportation.
Penrith City’s destiny lies in the success of the City Centre, Penrith Lakes, UWS Werrington, the Sydney Science Park and the broader Western Sydney Employment Area to provide jobs and housing that are right for the future. The Metropolitan Strategy recognises this and we look forward to more active collaboration with the Government on these Sydney-shaping projects.
Our green spaces, the river landscape and the rural areas, positively distinguish Penrith. While the Strategy recognises this we look to the Government to support these assets through improved planning and funding of their conservation.
Large parts of the Strategy have been funded from the Rebuilding NSW program; leasing electricity poles and wires. Already $18.9B of the estimated $20B has been allocated however it is not clear what Western Sydney will receive from this generous pool of money.
Penrith Council has advocated for the commitment of some of these funds for regional city infrastructure including sports and cultural facilities. We believe that from the perspective of outer Western Sydney the Strategy scores poorly in these areas.
A growing Sydney can be more balanced. ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney’ plots a way forward creating the opportunity for a visionary government to recognise the significant part of Sydney beyond Parramatta where large populations and even larger opportunities exist.
Cr Ross Fowler OAM
Mayor of Penrith
Photo credit to flickr user Newtown graffiti