OPINION | No plan other than to say yes to developers

Goodbye, old Macarthur: A Google Earth shot of Menangle village with the trees, backyards and lifestyle you would expect 70km from Sydney – with a shot of the new estates that are instead the Premier’s vision for us.
Goodbye, old Macarthur: A Google Earth shot of Menangle village with the trees, backyards and lifestyle you would expect 70km from Sydney – with a shot of the new estates that are instead the Premier’s vision for us.

Wollondilly, Campbelltown and Camden councils all oppose new housing estates at historic Menangle – as do local residents, local historians and local environmentalists.

Developers want it to go ahead.

Guess who won?

Ha. That was, of course, a trick question. This is NSW...and the Macarthur region is Sydney’s dumping ground.

Historic Menangle, a time capsule originally created for rural workers on Camden Park estate, is hailed as the birthplace of Australian agriculture. It might soon be better known for McMansions.

And, of course, the usual lack of government spending, thinking or caring.

As I noted last week, we already have a massive new housing estate approved for equally-rural Menangle Park, just across the river, but no announcement of an electric rail connection or even freeway on/off ramps.

The plan appears to be no plan – other than saying yes to developers and creating a future traffic gridlock around Macarthur Square. Now we can add Menangle too.

I don't mean to sound cynical and grumpy, and would much prefer to be talking about other topics, but this is happening on an almost weekly basis now and the developers always win.

This is the same state where the politicians making the decisions live in large leafy north shore homes 10km from Sydney, but demand tiny squished-up new estates without backyards 70km from Sydney. 

The same state that promised to hand planning powers back to local councils and then did the exact opposite.

Last week’s decision to rezone rural land at Menangle was NOT made by any elected local councillors.

Approval was given by an appointed government panel in a meeting at 320 Pitt Street, Sydney. That says it all.

Our future, our landscape, and our quality of life in Macarthur is being decided (and dictated) from the other side of Sydney, by a government led by MPs also from the other side of Sydney.

The sad reality is that we are NOT a cherished part of Sydney, we are a sneered-at colony of Sydney. We do as our colonial masters tell us.

We got a glimpse of the attitude on full display earlier this year when plans for a new high school in Oran Park were announced to cater for 2000 students and 158 staff – with 10 parking spaces.

When locals complained, the attitude from some government supporters was how dare you!. We should be thankful for any scrap thrown from the table.

This decision to hand Menangle to developers was made on the other side of Sydney. That says it all.

No. If we’re expected to be Sydney’s dumping ground, the least we should expect is adequate and timely infrastructure – without begging, or having to try to get substandard efforts changed.

There are some locals who will defend the government by saying it needs to spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely.

I would reply that this is the same government spending $2 billion to knock down and replace two Sydney stadiums, one of which isn’t even 20 years old.

Yet it can’t afford a fraction of that money to replace deadly Appin Road goat track, at the same time as it approves housing along it.

It has the money; it just chooses not to spend it here.

Government planning IS that arbitary. Look at the bribes, sorry, I mean previously-unannounced road funding pouring into Bennelong, where (by complete coincidence) a vital by-election is underway.

Dumping grounds get residents – not roads, rail and respect.