July 15, 2014
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Jacob Saulwick
The federal government needs to drop its opposition to funding public transport if Sydney is to continue driving the country’s economy, according to an influential private lobby.
The Committee for Sydney is also calling on the NSW government to re-draw its urban plan for the city, which would concentrate most new properties to be built in the next two decades on Sydney’s outer fringe.
“What happens in cities matters economically for the federal government,” the chief executive officer of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams, said.
“We need to see jointly funded projects around public transport by the two tiers of government,” Dr Williams said.
In a report released on Tuesday, the Committee argues that the recent public transport projects that have begun in Sydney – such as the north-west rail link and city light rail – need to be considered just the start of a major program of investment.
But state governments will find it impossible to pay for what is needed by themselves.
“Mass transit will be under-provided in our cities in comparison with the global competition unless we achieve a better alignment of federal and state funding,” the report said.
Under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the federal government will not fund public transport projects. It will fund only urban motorways, such as the WestConnex motorway, to which it has promised $1.5 billion and a $2 billion loan.
The Committee also homes in on the state government’s draft metropolitan strategy, which would concentrate large volumes of housing development on the city’s urban fringe.
The draft strategy says that of 545,000 new homes to be built by 2031, 141,000 would be built in south-west suburbs such as Campbelltown and Fairfield – more than would be built in the inner west, inner east, lower north shore and Ryde regions. Just 37,000 homes would be built in northern suburbs such as Ku-Ring-Gai and Hornsby.
“We want to make sure that in the next iteration of the metropolitan strategy an area like the north shore that has a real capacity to grow gets the housing that will enable us to maximise the economic contribution of the north shore,” Dr Williams said.
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View Sydney Issues Paper 4: Adding to the Dividend, Ending the Divide: 2014 Update