Federal support for Western Sydney metro is great news

14 May 2008

Federal government support for the proposed Western Sydney Metro between Parramatta and the Central Business District is great news for Sydney, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the federal commitment of $20 million for a feasibility study was a tangible show of support for a project vital to Sydneys future.


Congestion is killing Sydney and the solution is better systems of rail, tram and road transport, Mr Gadiel said.


Its refreshing to hear the Federal Government acknowledge the impact of congestion as a national issue and commitment to improving the lives of those affected by it.


The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has estimated that the costs of Sydneys urban congestion will be $7.8 billion by 2020, and more than $20 billion across the Australia.


A solid plan for addressing the problems of congestion has been taking shape in NSW, Mr Gadiel said.


The State Governments announcement of the $12 billion fully-funded North West Metro will pave the way for new compact, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighbourhoods on an arc stretching across the city.


Another new metro line stretching from the central business district to Parramatta will create an opportunity for a similar network of compact communities based around the new metro stations.


This will give more opportunity for people to live within walking distance of quality public transport, as well as local shopping, cafes and other services.


Federal support is also crucial to improving Sydneys road transport network.


Mr Gadiel said that Sydney desperately needed three new motorway tunnel connections:

  • linking the M4 at Concord to the City West link at Rozelle;
  • linking Victoria Road at the Iron Cove Bridge to Rozelle; and
  • linking the other two new tunnels (from Rozelle) to the Airport.


The new $20 billion Building Australia Fund can improve the lives of Australias most congested city by strongly backing the proposed Western Sydney Metro and the additional motorway network, Mr Gadiel said.


The Taskforce also praised the Federal Government for formally accepting a responsibility for the costs of housing-related infrastructure for the first time.


In this budget the government has delivered on its promise to establish a $512 million Housing Affordability Fund.


The refusal of past federal governments to contribute to the costs of water, sewerage, transport and open space has helped get us to the lowest rates of new housing development Sydney has seen for decades.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, last year, only 29,000 new homes were built in NSW. Thats the lowest level since it began collecting data on the subject since 1980.


Its only two-thirds of the average rate of new home construction in the 1990s (44,000 a year) and thats despite the significant population and demographic changes weve seen since then.


The dreams of many Sydney families have been dashed by the drought of new houses, caused by excessive infrastructure charges.


We note than $359 million is programmed to be spent over the next four years on the Housing Affordability Fund. This is a great start, but we will continue to urge the Federal Government to keep this figure under review.


Ultimately, the more money the Federal Government is able to invest in urban infrastructure, the more families will enjoy the benefits of their own home.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


The NSW development industrys annual turnover is $35 billion and employs 180,000 people, accounting for six percent of the States total employment. It is the fifth largest contributor to the State economy.


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