Private Members' Statement
Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (16:25:11) — If there is one word that sums up much of the public, political and social debate nowadays it is infrastructure. It is the term on everyone's lips. There are a multitude of newspaper articles and social media posts discussing the need for infrastructure every day.
The need for infrastructure—vital infrastructure, community-building infrastructure—has never been greater, especially in my rapidly growing electorate. What were once green fields and open spaces just a few short years ago are now home to new and burgeoning communities.
It stands to reason, and it is hardly rocket science, that the need for infrastructure grows as our community grows. Evidence‑based decision-making shows it is the right thing to do.
Few areas are growing more rapidly than those in my electorate of Macquarie Fields. But under this Liberal Government, my community is constantly short-changed when it comes to new and vital infrastructure. It is evidently clear infrastructure has failed to keep pace with development in our suburbs. It is a topic that constituents raise with me constantly.
Let me give a few examples. In terms of vital infrastructure, few items are more important to a new community than local public schools. It is not as if the Department of Education does not know how to build schools—it is just told to be politically selective about where those schools are built. It is not about educational need but about political convenience.
Edmondson Park is home to thousands of residents and hundreds of young families and many more thousands will be arriving in the coming years. No doubt many built their homes and futures around the expectation that a primary school and a high school would be built in their suburb. Indeed, residents have shown me a Landcom master plan that clearly shows where the school was to be built and which of course influenced their decision to buy and build their family home. It is not an unreasonable expectation that a family's children can attend a nearby public school.
Yet, for all the promises, residents in Edmondson Park are still waiting. In truth, they will be waiting for years to come because of this Liberal Government's constant delays and outright laziness. Despite all my efforts and questioning, the Government still cannot tell my community when the school will be built.
Not only is this Liberal Government failing to build new infrastructure in my electorate, it has actively and deliberately closed vital public services. A case in point is the Ingleburn motor registry. To this day local residents have to travel miles away out of the area to perform the most basic administrative tasks.
In the lead-up to the 2019 election the Liberal Government committed to building a Service NSW centre in Edmondson Park. Despite the promise, the new Service NSW centre is nowhere to be seen. In fact, the Liberal Government now says the centre could be three years away. It sounds like a non-core promise to me. The Government has no problem making my constituents wait. I am just glad the Government did not make this promise contingent on my community holding its breath.
We can all agree that fair access to our public transport system falls under the umbrella of vital infrastructure. It is evident that access to public transport actually depends on where you live. If you live in a Liberal electorate, you can expect funding through the Transport Access Program to be expedited. If you live in south-west Sydney in a Labor electorate, you can go on the backburner and the never-never.
Macquarie Fields station has constantly missed out on funding for lifts despite having a higher community need, supported by this strange thing that the Government seems to forget called facts and statistics. I have been campaigning for lifts on behalf of my community for years and I will not stop until we get our fair share.
The frail and elderly, people with a disability, parents with prams and travellers with luggage are all confronted with a completely inaccessible station marked by steep stairs. It is okay to fund lifts at train stations located in Liberal seats that have fewer than 1,000 trips per week but not one in the Labor seat with many thousands of trips per week.
Needs and evidence-based resource allocation has been replaced by political gerrymandering. It is simply not good enough. In recent days and weeks the Government has constantly fast‑tracked infrastructure projects but not one item—not one nut, not one bolt— has been allocated to my local community.
The Government has spruiked that its fast‑tracking of infrastructure during the COVID‑19 pandemic will boost jobs and help the recovery. It appears it does not care about the jobs or the economic recovery in south‑west Sydney.
Infrastructure may well be a buzzword for the Liberal Government, but in south-west Sydney all we hear are empty promises. All my community is asking for is a fair go and its fair share.