Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council (WSROC) has welcomed a research report that urges government to take greater advantage of future transport hub opportunities in the region, including a rail extension to the new international airport at Badgerys creek.
Since the 1990s, WSROC has been advocating for a north-south rail link to open access to opportunities associated with the aerotropolis development, such as affordable housing and jobs.
The organisation says the need for a rail link is becoming more pressing with unprecedented growth in the region, and an extra one million people expected to live in Western Sydney by 2036.
Commissioned by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), the research report was prepared by eminent civil engineer and transportation analyst, Professor David Levinson from the University of Sydney.
Professor Levinson’s report was made public by the UDA on Friday.
“Successful global cities deliver city shaping transport with integrated city planning outcomes,’’ Steve Mann, the CEO of UDIA, was quoted as saying.
“To ensure that we get it right in NSW requires a new approach to business cases, where accessibility to jobs, schools, hospitals, and amenities is planned at the same time as the rail.
“If we support the growth of Transit Oriented Development we can create great places, which maximise walkability from homes to railway stations,’’ Mr Mann said.
A scoping study into rail investment to service Western Sydney and the proposed Western Sydney Airport was announced by the NSW and Australian governments in November 2015.
The study’s final report was released in March 2018 and included a proposal to build a ‘North-South Link’ from Schofields, north-west of Sydney, to Macarthur, in Sydney’s south-west, via new the airport.
“The Western Sydney Airport metro line should be viewed as an essential piece of the city-shaping north-south rail link,” said WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert.
“When complete, a north-south rail link would connect Schofields in the north with Campbelltown and Liverpool in the south, serving both established and new communities in the growth corridors in between.”
By 2036, more than half of Sydney’s population will live west of Parramatta, said Cr Calvert.
“The north-south link will transform intra-regional connection and open access to opportunities – such as affordable housing and jobs associated with the aerotropolis development.”
“Such a crucial rail link would be a key piece in connecting the planning vision for the growing region’s current and future liveability.
“One of the biggest challenges for Sydney is the struggle to retrofit transport corridors, after the demand for services has already exceeded existing infrastructure.
“Western Sydney’s story is already one of road dependence. A daily exodus of more than 300,000 residents endures Greater Sydney’s longest commute, mostly by car.”
By 2036, with an extra one million residents this number will have increased to over 400,000, he said.
“The present lack of prioritisation of a north-south rail link is even now failing to provide better liveability outcomes for those transport-disadvantaged communities that stretch from the Hawkesbury to Campbelltown.”
“The link between St Marys and the new airport is just that, a link that will do very little to substantially improve intra-regional connectivity.
“Professor Levinson’s research confirms what WSROC has been saying for over 30 years.
“If we do not have a wholistic approach to transport planning with integrated land use planning based on accessibility, we will erode Sydney’s global competitiveness for housing affordability, cost of living and liveability.
“If we want to address the housing shortage and improve affordability, we will need to significantly boost new dwelling commencements and momentum in both the apartment and greenfield supply pipelines, with transport and land use planning integrated,” said Cr Calvert.