The Federal seat of Parramatta is up for Grabs, State Member Dr Geoff Lee share his views on the Federal priorities for Parramatta.
EXCLUSIVE by DR GEOFF LEE
THE federal election campaign has focused attention on Parramatta and its future needs.
The Prime Minister has paid multiple visits to our area during this campaign, which tells me that the long-held Labor seat of Parramatta is up for grabs.
As the state MP for Parramatta, I’m proud of what the NSW Government has already delivered for our area, including Parramatta Light Rail, CommBank Stadium, upgrades to Westmead
Hospital and Westmead Children’s Hospital, North Parramatta Heritage Precinct, Telopea’s redevelopment, the state’s first vertical high school Arthur Phillip High School and bringing 10,000 public servants to Parramatta CBD.
While the NSW Government has delivered a lot for Parramatta, I believe there is an imperative for the next Federal Government to also contribute to Parramatta’s transformation in three key areas.
For any city to be a great place to live, it essentially needs three things, being housing, jobs, and transport to get people from their homes to their jobs.
Parramatta Light Rail stage 1 will open in 2023, providing an economic spine connecting Westmead, Parramatta CBD and Carlingford.
Anyone who has seen its progress, with 98% of tracks already laid and streetscapes enhanced, will know how incredibly transformative this $2.4 billion project will be.
It will change the way people live and work in Parramatta, connecting homes to workplaces and removing congestion off our roads.
Everyone acknowledges that the next stage, Parramatta Light Rail stage 2, is essential to expand the network and connect major developments and economic centres in western Sydney.
There is incredible growth happening in the area, with 10,000 homes proposed for Melrose Park, 5,000 for Wentworth Point and another 2,000 for Carter Street precinct.
They’ve acknowledge the challenge
The state government has acknowledged the challenge of funding such a large-scale project when we are already stretched because of the pandemic and the ensuing escalation in construction costs.
The Premier has already publicly indicated that major projects will face longer timeframes than initially expected pre-pandemic.
I believe the Federal government should help deliver this project because it’s a real stretch for the NSW government to solely fund major infrastructure projects when we are already delivering $110B in infrastructure across the state.
I’d also like to see the next Federal Government, whoever they may be, expand the number of Commonwealth Supported places in Western Sydney so that more students can attend university.
Currently, the number of CSPs funded by the Commonwealth is not keeping up with projected growth in our region.
Access to tertiary education is essential to providing everybody the opportunity for economic advancement.
As it stands now, we are heading backwards in terms of equity which means there will be fewer opportunities for kids in western Sydney to go to university.
Universities can’t expand their footprint in Parramatta without the Commonwealth Government’s support.
I’d also like to see the Commonwealth support the commercialization of innovations in health at Westmead.
Westmead is the largest biomedical precinct in Australia, with huge research capabilities located in the Children’s Medical Research Institute and Westmead Millennium Institute, among others.
There is enormous potential here for the commercialization of research.
For instance, the NSW government is looking to partner with industry in establishing Australia’s first commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing facility at Westmead.
This facility will ensure Australians have faster access to next-generation medical treatments that will save and improve lives.
For Parramatta, it will create high value, knowledge-intensive jobs of the future which will complement the existing biomedical capabilities of the Westmead precinct.
I welcome any commitments to Parramatta made by the next Federal government but believe the areas I’ve just outlined should be among their biggest priorities.
Dr Geoff Lee is State Member for Parramatta. Connect: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Dr Geoff Lee in Parramatta CBD.