By Angela Dorizas
Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Local Government, Maxine McKew, has urged all levels of government to work together to tackle future challenges in Western Sydney.
Speaking at the Regional Governance Futures Workshop in Penrith, Ms McKew called on councils to adopt a regional focus in planning for future community needs.
“Just over one in every 11 Australians lives in Western Sydney – it is a region of amazing diversity and opportunity,” she said.
“Population growth in the area will present many opportunities, and we have to marshal our resources as best we can to seek out sustainable solutions to housing affordability, congestion and public transport.”
Ms McKew said an intergovernmental approach was required for dealing with the challenges of population growth.
“The Rudd Government firmly believes that all three tiers of government in this country have a responsibility to ensure that every Australian, no matter where they live, has equitable access to social, educational and economic opportunity,” she said.
“I know that's something that's particularly important to people here in Western Sydney.”
Ms McKew called on local groups to connect with the Australian Government's Regional Development Australia (RDA) Sydney committee.
“We have taken a new approach to empowering local areas, but it is a two-way street,” she said.
“We have delivered the RDA network to give local communities a voice across all levels of government, but we need communities – including Western Sydney – to be strong and vocal to make it work.”
Ms McKew said through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program the Government had provided $1 billion for local government infrastructure projects in Western Sydney and wanted the conversation between the two spheres of government to continue.
“The only way to achieve balanced, inclusive growth in such a diverse region as Western Sydney is to work collaboratively.”
The Regional Governance Futures Workshop involved representatives of the 14 Greater Western Sydney councils as well as major regional businesses, community and cultural organisations and members of the RDA Sydney committee.
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