Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Project: Planning Needs to be Integrated

The NSW Liberal Government has failed to consult properly with the community, and has failed to plan for massive population growth that will result from the Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Project.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [12.50 p.m.], by leave: The 50,000 people who live in Balmain are thankful to Government members for giving us the opportunity to speak on this important matter. I thank the member for Strathfield for moving this motion, and I will speak particularly about some of the concerns that we have been raising consistently in this place with respect to UrbanGrowth, Parramatta Road and the dreaded WestConnex. One cannot look at WestConnex—because it goes down Parramatta Road—without looking at urban growth and their integration. I think "integration" is one word that is really missing in this Government's approach to transport infrastructure, housing infrastructure and community infrastructure in this State, particularly in the inner city and Sydney's inner west. There has been a failure to integrate.

I recall being at a meeting at Petersham Bowling Club: It was standing room only. Hundreds of residents were gathered there. They were very concerned that all they had from the WestConnex delivery authority and from UrbanGrowth at that time were some bold, highlighted areas on a map, which covered parks, open spaces and houses. Somehow, from these very vague maps they were supposed to have some idea of how to engage in a consultation process when they were unclear whether they would lose open spaces, parks and other amenities in the area. Integration is very important because people will be open to a conversation about housing density if they can be assured that government is taking an integrated approach to transport and recognising the need for more investment in public education, public hospitals, and community and public services while increasing housing density.

Consistently, plans from UrbanGrowth are nice, glossy brochures and vision statements accompanied by maps that show where the density will increase. Unfortunately, the maps do not indicate where the new high schools and primary schools will be, nor do they indicate a commitment to ensuring that this overdevelopment will not impact on people's open space and green space. There is no recognition of the fact that the greater the housing density in an area the more open space is needed in that area. It is important to recognise that the Save Petersham Park community group organised a public meeting in the park, which brought together hundreds of people to make submissions to the UrbanGrowth process. I believe 420 submissions were made on that day in the park. I was pleased to be able to join them on that day.

Those submissions raised a lot of concerns about the failure of integration between the different elements of housing, infrastructure, transport, planning and the dreaded WestConnex. The community group also raised questions about whether genuine consultation was being undertaken. While we have seen a re-opening and engagement of UrbanGrowth with the community in recent times, it is understandable that the community that lives along Parramatta Road is concerned about where this Government is headed with urban growth and urban renewal. I hope the Government will prove us wrong, but in the past that has not been the case. The Petersham community remains concerned and thanks the member for Strathfield moving this motion, which we will support.


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