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Geoff Lee. Geoff Lee.
31 May 2015 Posted by 

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Perceptions of Parrmatta's true potential

By Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta

WHEN I decided to run for political office in Parramatta in 2011, it was because I wanted Parramatta to realise its full potential.

Western Sydney faces significant challenges in addressing availability of affordable housing, creating of high-value jobs and building infrastructure. It is estimated that congestion already costs the state over $5 billion per year in lost productivity.

A report by the Grattan Institute in 2014 detailed how “economic performance is tied to large cities”. It highlighted that the relatively small geographic area of Sydney CBD produces significant output.

Sydney CBD produced about $100 worth of goods and services for every hour worked there compared to Parramatta that “generated only $68 per hour”.

Yet perceptions and investment in Parramatta is quickly changing.

Rarely a week goes by without good news hitting the headlines for Parramatta. Parramatta is now officially recognised by the NSW Government as Sydney’s second CBD.

More importantly, the government has committed more than $2 billion in new infrastructure in Parramatta that includes $900 million for the Westmead Hospital precinct upgrade, $500 million to start WestConnex, $1 billion for light-rail and more than $100 million for Australia’s first vertical public school.

Never before have we had such record investment in Parramatta’s infrastructure. This will transform Parramatta into Western Sydney’s economic powerhouse and major centre for employment.

To fund these significant commitments, the Baird government sought a mandate for the long-term lease of 49% of the ‘poles and wires’ in the state election in March.

Asset recycling will give the NSW Government the opportunity to invest in new infrastructure without putting the state’s AAA credit rating at risk.

Last month, legislation was introduced into parliament to enable the long-term lease of the ‘poles and wires’.

When the transaction is complete it will fund a once-in-a-generation investment of $20 billion in infrastructure across the state, Western Sydney will benefit from more than $10 billion of infrastructure investment.

The NSW Government is wasting no time by introducing this legislation that will free up the investment needed to start building - this is great news.
Parramatta is at the heart of this investment.

Take the Sydney Morning Herald’s article “The rise of Parramatta: 'Once in a lifetime opportunity'” on May 23, 2015, where Premier Mike Baird declares Parramatta “the infrastructure capital of the world".

Similarly, others have also recognised the explosive growth and potential of Parramatta. The University of Western Sydney has flagged its interest to develop a $450 million commercial and residential development adjacent to the Westmead Medical Precinct.

Together with Sydney University’s Stage 1 $50 million investment in the precinct and the $900 million plans to expand the hospital, the precinct will grow research, teaching and clinical jobs to 25,000 over the next decade.

The Premier’s comments highlight the record private and public interest and investment that is earmarked for Parramatta and Western Sydney over the coming years.

The NSW Government’s Rebuilding NSW Plan has sown the seeds for a major shift in perception of Parramatta and Western Sydney.

Today, the NSW Government’s infrastructure commitments place Parramatta and Western Sydney in a better position to maximise these benefits and boost local productivity and the economy.

Now is the time to showcase Parramatta as the “infrastructure capital of world” - to position Parramatta in the number one spot, whether its jobs, innovation, education, research or tourism.

We should all be proud of the plans for Western Sydney and Parramatta and be ready to leverage the public interest as the NSW Government delivers on its election commitments.



editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Email: info@wsba.com.au
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