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Geoff Lee joins Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres on the site of the new M5 tunnel. Geoff Lee joins Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres on the site of the new M5 tunnel.
25 November 2017 Posted by 

Our journey into the new era of investment

GEOFF LEE
I RECENTLLY joined the Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres on the site of the new M5 tunnel where twin underground motorway tunnels are under construction. 
This project alone is generating 10,000 jobs and is an example of how the NSW Government’s strategic infrastructure investment is driving economic growth across Western Sydney.
 
There is no doubt that this Government is delivering transformational infrastructure projects across, creating more jobs, connecting more people and delivering a better lifestyle. 
When we came to government there was a record infrastructure backlog and sluggish economy.  
 
Congested roads and overcrowded trains were more than just an inconvenience – they drag down our economy and costing business. 
 
Fast forward and I am proud to say, when you turn on the TV most nights there’s not only great news for Parramatta but also Western Sydney.  But there is a downside to delivering on our record infrastructure agenda - some say New South Wales is experiencing “growth fatigue”.  
 
It is vital that we continue our infrastructure journey. This is because Western Sydney will be the epicentre of Sydney’s population growth. 
 
If current trends continue, by 2036 over half of Sydney’s population will live west of Parramatta.  Western Sydney is also Australia’s third largest economy and fourth largest city contributing $95B to the gross domestic product.
 
As a politician I am focused on my priorities for the region – that is creating jobs, in the right locations, meeting demand for homes and delivering transport options with both the capacity to support the population growth and improve liveability – options that get people to and from work, education, sports, and recreation and entertainment facilities easier and faster. 
 
Growth in Western Sydney presents two broad transport challenges ensuring the transport network has the capacity to support population growth in established areas and ensuring transport services are integrated with the planning of new land releases and areas of urban renewal.
 
Today congestion costs around $6.1B per annum and our Western train line is at 180% capacity in the mornings. 
 
There are many potential projects, each worthy and each competing for a slice of the pie.  A strong budget means we can invest a record $73 billion but there is never enough money.  So this government has the challenge of deciding where to invest the resources we have. 
 
Fortunately, we have a number of good plans to inform our decisions and ensure Western Sydney’s success. Western Sydney is currently on a growth trajectory. Gross regional product is growing from $127B – about 20% of NSW in 2015, to $163B in 2020 and $203 billion in 2030. At this time around 60 per cent of Sydney’s population will live in the region and by 2050 that’s expected to grow to 4 million people.   
 
Growth precincts like the Greater Parramatta Growth Area, Western Sydney Employment Area and Western Sydney Airport are vital as they deliver both growth and capacity and facilitate enabling infrastructure ensuring we build homes and create jobs. 
 
Projects such as WestConnex and NorthConnex, Parramatta Light Rail, Sydney Metro West, and the Western Sydney Airport all help connect more business, homes and jobs in the region. 
 
Housing prices and affordability however remain a BBQ stopper with under supply a major contributor. There are many solutions to increasing supply with building density at major transport hubs pivotal to both delivering homes but also easing congestion. 
 
We continue to build a strong connection between jobs in the region and our labour force in key Western Sydney areas - to plan for our 3 cities:  Sydney; Parramatta and Western Sydney Airport and regional cities such as Blacktown, Penrith, Liverpool, Cambelltown and Camden. With Western Sydney Airport expected to be a catalyst for up to 60,000 jobs as well as adjacent satellite cities centres and rail links and orbital roads. 
 
We are addressing the current jobs deficit in Western Sydney while simultaneously looking at land use planning and transport. We are focused on building enabling infrastructure at the same time as homes and jobs. 
 
I could not be prouder than to say Parramatta is a fantastic example of where this is happening.  
 
This Government is committed to making to a real difference in Western Sydney and across NSW.  Premier, Gladys Berejiklian is focused on “remodelling of NSW” and most
importantly delivering more projects and more jobs. 
 
Geoff Lee is State Member for Parramatta.


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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