That’s the view of at least two Western Sydney mayors who have called for immediate action to address the infrastructure shortfall across Sydney’s west.
Penrith mayor John Thain said connecting growth suburbs in the North West and South West with a rail line passing through Badgerys Creek airport would “transform” Western Sydney.
And Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said now was the time for state and federal politicians to show their commitment to the west by reserving the rail corridor.
Mr Thain said reserving the corridor was imperative “before all the land is taken up for housing that we can’t really afford.”
He said while it was promising to hear Premier Gladys Berejiklian say housing affordability and local infrastructure investment were the priorities of the NSW Government, he believed the way to deliver that was with a north-west rail link.
Doing so would address the “unfair cost of living in Western Sydney” where more than 300,000 residents who travel out of the region for work every day suffer the combined high cost of petrol, tolls and long commutes.
Such a rail link would also lead to “higher housing and employment density and improved amenity”, he said.
“It’s obvious – rail north to south across Western Sydney changes everything,” Mr Thain recently wrote in an opinion piece for a Sydney newspaper.
Mr Bali agreed the rail link would be a game-changer but said building one line would be setting the west up for fail.
“I have argued there needs to be two lines, not one. A north-south rail line would make Badgerys Creek work but we also need an outer west line to service Richmond, Penrith and Badgerys Creek and onward to Campbelltown,” he said.
“If we only have one line, we’re losing the battle. That would commit Western Sydney to gridlock.
“We’re going to have this gigantic airport the size of (London’s) Heathrow at Badgerys Creek but we haven’t figured out how people are going to move around.
“If people are really serious they will come up with a plan. There are too many nodding dogs in the room, all I’m calling for is a plan.”
Sydney Business Chamber's western Sydney director David Borger said he was keen to see the results of the federal and state government’s joint study into the options for rail services to Badgerys Creek airport which is expected to be completed later this year.
The Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study is looking at 11 rail options across Sydney’s north, west and south and Badgerys Creek.
“But John (Thain) is right, if we don’t reserve the corridor now it will be so much more expensive to build the line later,” Mr Borger said.