Response to the NSW State Budget, 2017

We need to be measuring the success of a budget on how it is delivering for people. 

A $4.5 billion surplus is not so great when 28,000 people are sleeping rough every night and 60,000 people are on the public housing waiting list in this state. Or when 7 train stations in the Newtown electorate don't have lifts cutting out so many from using public transport. 

This shiny, neo-Liberal budget forgot about so many people.

Budget Response transcript - June 20, 2017

Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 19:23 :30 ): I will respond to the 2017 budget on behalf of the people in the electorate of Newtown. The idea that all people in New South Wales should have access to safe, secure and affordable housing is what members in this place should strive for.

The idea that we would invest in world-class public transport, offer the people who live in the electorate of Newtown, our inner-city and our inner west the ability to get where they need to go—whether it be to a doctor's appointment, to see friends, to work, to school or to do their shopping—and encourage active forms of transport that funded pedestrian pathways, cycleways and the ability for us to engage with our local community is a vision that we want realised.

This vision includes the idea that our schools have places for all of our students—and that our students are able to run because there is enough room in the playground for running—and the idea that our health services, caring services and support services are adequately delivering what we need. Our vision is that public housing tenants do not have to negotiate with bureaucracy and wait for simple fixes to their bathrooms, kitchens and homes when something goes wrong, and that the common areas in public housing do not smell like piss and vomit because the contracted cleaners do not have time to clean them adequately. Our vision is that our communities and our city thrive because we invest in the arts and creative industries. Our vision is that people are not sleeping rough on the streets. This is the kind of thing we and the people of Newtown had hoped to see in the budget that was handed down by the State Government today—but no, we did not see it.

This neoliberal New South Wales Government is holding up a $4.5 billion surplus without acknowledging that about 28,000 people are still sleeping rough in this State and 60,000 approved applicants on the public housing waiting list do not have a place to call home because we have underinvested in public housing. There is a disconnect between celebrating a $4.5 billion surplus and the reality that 28,000 people are sleeping rough on our streets, and 60,000 people have no place to call home because they are waiting on the public housing list. There is a disconnect between holding up a $16.8 million investment in a polluting toll road when one of the busiest railway stations in Sydney, Redfern, is still inaccessible and unable to be used by people in a wheelchair, people with a pram or people with luggage.

It is madness that in the current climate there is such touting of prosperity when it comes to investing in local projects while Redfern station still has only one lift and some stations across the Sydney network have no disability access whatsoever. People struggle with prams. People cannot get where they need to go. People are continually faced with challenges as a result of this State Government's failure to invest in basic infrastructure, like lifts at our stations. This has a real impact on people's lives. The Greens have received huge numbers of messages from people in the electorate of Newtown calling for the State Government to give us a lift at Petersham, Macdonaldtown, Erskineville, St Peters and Redfern stations.

The fact that all these other stations do not have lifts may mean that there is a priority list, but it is beyond belief that Redfern station would not be on that list. The Australian Technology Park site next to Redfern station was sold off and privatised by this Liberal Government. As part of the sell-off agreement, it was agreed that lifts would be put in at Redfern station. But what happened? The money came in here and the State Government put it in its pocket there, but where is the money for the lifts that we were promised? It is rare that I, The Greens member for Newtown, have the same position as Mirvac, the Commonwealth Bank and the University of Sydney, but Redfern Station needs a lift now. We all support it: Give us a lift.

Sign up for updates