Western Sydneys problem is poor infrastructure investment, not population growth

08 August 2010

Western Sydneys real problem is a lack of infrastructure investment, not population growth, according to the Urban Taskforce.

This mornings Sunday Telegraph has highlighted the absence of vital Western Sydney infrastructure commitments by either of the major political parties in the current federal election campaign.


The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said too many had wrongly assumed that the Western Sydney needed less people – when the real issue is a lack of infrastructure investment.


Parts of Australia have experienced strong population growth, but Western Sydney is not among them, Mr Gadiel said.


“In the five years to June 2009, Western Sydney only saw an annual population increase of 1.5 per cent a year, slower than the national growth rate of 1.8 per cent.


That was an extra 142,000 people, accounting for only half Sydneys overall growth of 290,000 people.


“These figures are dwarfed by Melbourne which gained 370,000 people in the same period.


“In percentage terms, Melbourne has grown at a rate of 2 per cent a year, Brisbane has an annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent, and Perth has grown annually by 2.6 per cent.


If population growth was the real issue, we would have expected other cities to be far more vocal than the residents of Western Sydney.


Western Sydney has taken centre-stage because thats where the under-investment in urban infrastructure is most apparent.


Mr Gadiel said that federal funding was vital for the North West rail link, the acceleration of the South West rail line, the duplication of the M5 and the extension of the M4 through to the city and the airport.


Western Sydney can only get better transport with federal financial support and so far no-one has put any money on the table in this election campaign, Mr Gadiel said.


Commitments have been made to transport infrastructure in other state capitals, but Western Sydney has been missing out.


“Last year the federal government committed $4.5 billion in funding to Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.


Then only last month Brisbane was promised $740 million for a new rail line by both the federal government and the opposition.


But Sydney and Western Sydney in particular still has nothing.


Mr Gadiel said a strong steady planned program of infrastructure investment was crucial for all cities, including Western Sydney.


This makes it easier to deal with the challenge population growth, and reap the economic benefits.


“Throughout much of the last decade, Victoria has experienced double the population growth of NSW, and as a result, has enjoyed double the level of economic growth.


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



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