Friday, 21 June 2024 18:30

Budget throws Western Sydney welcome lifeline Featured

Cost of living lifeline welcome Cost of living lifeline welcome WSROC

The peak body representing councils in Western Sydney, the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), has welcomed cost-of-living measures in the 2024-25 NSW Budget, but cautions that long-term affordability and sustainability requires greater focus and collaboration with councils.

WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert said: “Many communities are in urgent need of financial relief and the government has done well to provide a range of support packages to help communities access the basics - energy, medical care, transport and housing.

“We welcome the Government’s $5.1 billion investment in social and affordable housing, especially support for women-led households leaving domestic and family violence. While it’s certainly less than what’s needed, it is an eight-fold increase from last year’s budget,” said Councillor Calvert.

“We also welcome moves to support over-stretched Western Sydney councils by better dispersing new housing across different parts of the city, and providing staff support to process the unprecedented number of development applications in Western Sydney’s growth areas.

However, some of the key drivers of costs-of-living in Western Sydney, including deficits in transport, jobs and services will take time, planning and collaboration to address,” said Clr Calvert.

“Hundreds of thousands of our residents commute outside the region for work, and many do not have the choice of more affordable public transport,” said Councillor Calvert.

“The Premier’s continuation of the $60 weekly toll cap on motorways is welcome. However, the best long-term solution is ensuring communities have access to transport options.

“Even with the promised investment in road and bus upgrades, there is still much more to be done. WSROC supports and welcomes the planned rail link to Badgerys Creek – this is smart, future-focused planning – however this link will not support out current residents.

“From a council perspective, I also welcome the Government’s long overdue investment in waste infrastructure.

“There are critical shortages of processing capacity across Sydney, which, if not addressed will force councils and communities to pay a premium to ship waste elsewhere.

“As the state’s delivery agency for waste collection and processing, we flag the need to consult councils on how this investment is made,” said Clr Calvert.

“Finally, it was pleasing to see the Government’s commitment to reducing the impacts of floods in Western Sydney, including a Richmond Bridge replacement and enhanced emergency services. Western Sydney communities have suffered significant impacts from successive floods since 2021. While this is far from the only measure needed, it is a step in the right direction.

“As councils look to the future, the demands of population growth and other internal and external factors are putting ever greater pressure on Western Sydney. And while the Minns government’s latest budget has not by itself addressed all those factors, it has taken some welcome steps in the right direction,” said Councillor Calvert.

Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2024 18:44

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