Ms JODI McKAY ( Strathfield ) ( 12:18 ): I have spoken many times in this House about the development pressures being experienced by residents in the Strathfield electorate. Again I say to the House that I am not opposed to development, but I am opposed to ad hoc and poor planning that impacts not only on the amenity of an area but also personally on residents. I raise again the pressures being experienced by residents, particularly in North Strathfield and Homebush. Last week the Government released the master plan for Sydney Olympic Park. The master plan was presented to Government late last year, so it has taken almost 12 months for it to be released publicly for consultation.
I will make further comment on the master plan, but to understand the concerns of residents who live in those two areas—which come under two councils—other projects have to be considered, including WestConnex, the Concord West Master Plan, the proposal for light rail and now possible metro, the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy, the development of the district plan by the Greater Sydney Commission, and council amalgamations. It is a matter of concern that those projects are occurring largely in isolation; there appears to be no coordinated approach by government.
The Sydney Olympic Park Master Plan, which was released recently and is currently on exhibition, focuses on a 210 hectare area that includes the railway station, is bound by Hill Road to the west and has parkland to the north and east and the M4 motorway and Homebush Bay Drive to the south. The Government is proposing to develop a town centre which includes mixed-use development along key roads, including Olympic Boulevard and Australia Avenue. Under the plan, 23,500 residents and 44,000 workers will be at Olympic Park by 2030. The plan also proposes a new high school, possibly at the corner of Australia Avenue and Homebush Bay Drive.
I support development in Olympic Park; the area has long cried out for increased activity and density. Last year the Government committed $1 billion for light rail from Parramatta through Olympic Park to Strathfield. This route is supported by Labor. Unfortunately, the plan that was released for Sydney Olympic Park does not provide a commitment to transport. The Commonwealth Bank has removed thousands of employees from Sydney Olympic Park simply because of the lack of transport and willingness by the Government to address the issue. When the Government followed Labor's lead and made a commitment to light rail, we welcomed its decision.
I also believe that light rail will be a catalyst for development for revitalising the Strathfield town square by creating a new interchange and opportunities for local businesses. The preferred light rail routes were supposed to be released in July and August 2016, but we are still waiting. Under pressure, the Minister confirmed in budget estimates that the preferred routes will not be released until early next year. We know that North Strathfield station—which is still waiting on an easy access upgrade—was one of the potential stations identified as a light rail connection. The vague plans we have seen show that light rail will be cutting through the community of North Strathfield. The Olympic Park Master Plan appears to show light rail travelling downed Australia Avenue and Underwood Road. The information that has been released to date is contradictory and vague.
The delay in this project comes at a time when the Government is finalising its Parramatta Road urbanisation plan. This plan proposes significant rezoning to high rise in the Homebush precinct and was developed without any consideration of transport. In fact, when the draft document was released the Government had not agreed to light rail. The finalised Parramatta Road plan will apparently be included in the district plan, which will be released shortly. Again, this significant planning document will make rezoning decisions without having all the information, particularly related to transport.
The uncertainty of this plan is impacting on residents in North Strathfield. Whether or not they support rezoning, many are experiencing severe anxiety and concern about what is happening in their local area. In recent weeks, we have also discovered that the Government is now extending the Metro to include a possible Sydney CBD to Parramatta route. We know nothing more than this. I find it extraordinary that billion-dollar transport decisions are being made on the run. It could be said that the Government is making it up as it goes.
I remind the House of another project that is impacting on these to two communities, namely, Westconnex. In summary, the Government is mismanaging the entire project. It is shambolic and it is impacting North Strathfield and Homebush in particular. It is too late to do anything about WestConnex but it is not too late to ensure that the planning for this area is the best it can be. I note that the Minister for Planning is seated at the table. I thank him for his support of this community. I am confident that the Government will be able to progress with rezoning decisions when it has a transport plan in place.