• Tony Bosworth

State Budget falls short on community infrastructure investment, says WSROC President

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has welcomed the NSW Government’s investment in family activities, energy, and housing through the recently announced State Budget, but says community infrastructure investment continues to fall short.

State Budget sees some investment in family activities - including sporting and cultural activities

WSROC President, and Hawkesbury councillor, Barry Calvert, welcomed leadership in the energy and sustainability sectors but expressed concern at continuing shortfalls in liveability investment for Western Sydney.

“Firstly, WSROC applauds the Budget’s focus on families, including kids’ sporting and cultural activities, not all families have equal opportunity to benefit. It’s hard to get to swimming lessons if your neighbourhood doesn’t have a pool. Investment in local social infrastructure is the best future we can give our children,” he said.

“Similarly, arts funding for Western Sydney falls short. WSROC has long supported the new Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta. However, this re-location does not amount to investment in Western Sydney’s arts and cultural industries,” said Cllr Calvert.

“WSROC welcomes the $700 million in funding for waste management in NSW, however any vision for revolutionising our waste sector must include adequate support for, and consultation with, councils.

Waste management services get boost in Budget but Calvert says councils should be consulted when it comes to revolutionising waste management

“Councils are the backbone of waste management in our state. They work at the coalface on waste collection, tackling illegal dumping and problem wastes, as well as delivering community education programs,” said Cllr Calvert.

“In the energy space, WSROC strongly supports Budget incentives for electric vehicle uptake and associated infrastructure. NSW’s national leadership on this issue is commendable and WSROC looks forward to working with the government to facilitate roll-out in Western Sydney.

“Further, WSROC welcomes the transition to more reliable, affordable, sustainable power including funding for Renewable Energy Zones. Priority placement for these zones should be in traditional energy production regions such as Lithgow, to ensure these workers are not left behind. These communities have been powering our state for decades and require support in the transition to a Net Zero economy,” said Cllr Calvert.

“While investment in social and affordable housing is welcome, particularly in the context of the current property boom, new housing and building upgrades must factor in the ongoing costs of living. This means, building homes that require less energy to heat and cool, and do not contribute to urban heat.

“Finally, it is exciting to see the advances in digital planning in this Budget. Having advocated for the development of digital modelling technologies, WSROC is pleased that these advancements are now coming to fruition.

“We encourage the government to work closely with councils, to ensure the aspirations of this Budget can be delivered in a way that is most beneficial to our growing local communities,” said Cllr Calvert.

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