Labor’s second most powerful NSW MP travelled to Campbelltown yesterday to discuss the future of the city.
State opposition deputy leader and shadow planning spokesman Michael Daley met with Campbelltown MP Greg Warren and Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic (both Labor) to discuss what was working and what wasn’t regarding growth in the area.
With the Liberal Party experiencing a nation-wide backlash, Mr Daley said there was a “reasonable prospect” the Labor Party would govern the state after the next NSW elections – due to be held in 2019.
And in the interest of foresight, he wanted to be aware of the challenges facing the expanding city.
“Campbelltown is an emerging city that is outgrowing itself,” he said.
“We are all concerned and want to make sure people don’t think western Sydney stops at Parramatta and that it’s not just about providing connections from Parramatta to Sydney.
“We want to make sure this isn’t a dumping ground for population.
“I’ll die in a ditch with (Campbelltown MP) Greg (Warren) before we see the south west become a dumping ground for people.
“Sydney is growing and this is one area that will take in more people so we need to make sure the plan for Campbelltown is thought-out properly years ahead.”
Mr Daley said there were several challenges facing the area including affordable housing.
He said supplying more houses was not to the sole answer to providing affordable housing and he conceded there were problems with the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Housing) 2009.
The policy was introduced by the state government and overrules council planning instruments when conflicts arise.
It’s been a bone of contention for many councillors who have opposed developments that fall under the SEPP.
“The intention behind the affordable housing SEPP was worthwhile when but the problem with the SEPP is that it’s a one-size-fits-all approach for the whole state,” he said.
“It’s time that we looked at it.”
Mr Warren has become increasingly frustrated with decisions form the state government that affected his electorate including: the closure of the Roads and Maritime Services offices to make way for a service centre and Gregory Hills; and plans to cut direct train services from Campbelltown to Sydney’s second biggest city, Parramatta
“The government is not backing it’s words with actions,” he said.
Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic had been left frustrated with several decisions – particularly the state government’s refusal to reject a controversial proposal for a 360-plot cemetery in the Scenic Hills.
He said regardless of the party in charge, he would focus on what was best for Campbelltonians.
“We will put political allegiances aside to work with those in power now and those who might be in power in the future so we can plan and forecast for the future,” he said.
“We need to get infrastructure, jobs and growth so people heading to work don’t have to travel on the M5 for two hours or hop on a train.
“If they can travel to work in five or 10 minutes it’s better for everyone.”