Sydney mayors slam metro plan

Mayors against the Metro
Mayors against the Metro present a petition to the NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell and Shadow Tranpsort Minister Gladys Berejiklian.

By Angela Dorizas

Mayors from across Sydney have called on the New South Wales Government to scrap its CBD Metro plan.

Representatives of Mayors against the Metro presented a petition of more than 1170 signatories to the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, and shadow minister for transport, Gladys Berejiklian, on Wednesday.

The petition was signed by 20 mayors, along with 150 councillors and council staff who attended the Local Government Association conference in Tamworth last month. More than 1000 Hills Shire residents also added their names to the petition.

Mayors from Hornsby, North Sydney, the Hills Shire, Hawkesbury and Leichhardt protested on the steps of Parliament House, urging the Government to overturn its Metro plan and focus on completing the Parramatta to Chatswood railway line.

They said the CBD metro was poorly planned and an inadequate response to the public transport needs of their communities.

North Sydney Mayor and president of the Local Government Association, Genia McCaffery, said scrapping the Metro plan would free up $7.3 billion to be spent on transport infrastructure in the north and south west of Sydney, upgrades to regional bus networks and light rail extensions in the inner city.

Cr McCaffery said the Government had disregarded existing planning strategies.

“All of our planning strategies don’t match what the Government is now doing,” she said.

“Councils have honoured their commitments, the communities have honoured their commitments and now it’s time for the Government to uphold their part of the bargain.”

Hills Shire Mayor Peter Dimbrowsky challenged the Government to deliver on past promises.

“The message is don’t give us another myth for tomorrow – deliver on the promises of the past,” Cr Dimbrowsky said.

“We’ve done the planning, we’ve had the population growth, we’re meeting all of our targets, but the government needs to meet their promises of the past.

“This is a chance for the government to demonstrate proper planning.”

Mayor of Leichhardt Jamie Parker said his inner-west council was just as concerned about public transport in the north and south-west.

“Our council is the gateway to the CBD,” Cr Parker said.

“The vehicle traffic, the pollution that comes with that and the congestion is all because there is inadequate public transport to get people into the city.

“The reason we’re so supportive of the north-west and south-west [railway lines] is because it’s all about reducing traffic, reducing private vehicle movement and increasing public transport use.”

Ms Berejiklian said the Government had not provided an explanation as to why existing transport plans were shelved and replaced with the CBD Metro.

“It doesn’t make sense that the State Government suddenly at the drop of the hat just abandoned those rail lines and plucked out of thin air this Rozelle train line,” she said.

“We don’t know where the concept came from. We’re still trying to ascertain which expert gave the Government advice.”

Hornsby Mayor Nick Berman speculated that the Metro plan was introduced to “shore up the seat of Balmain” in the next state election.

“You can’t help but think there are some sinister political motives behind this,” Cr Berman said.

The Mayors against the Metro campaign was launched by the Hills Shire with support from councils in Blacktown, Camden, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Leichhardt, North Sydney, Penrith and Woollahra.

Despite public opposing the Metro, the City of Sydney has not signed up to the joint campaign.

The mayors have called for CBD Metro funding to be spent on:

  • an extension of Sydney’s light rail network from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill ($70 million);
  • construction of the north west railway ($4 billion);
  • construction of the south west railway ($1.2 billion); and
  • completion of the Parramatta to Chatswood railway ($2 billion).


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