Representatives from western Sydney councils met with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and senior members of her cabinet yesterday to discuss issues relating to western Sydney and the challenges and opportunities of the region.
Jobs, infrastructure and community safety were among the chief topics of discussion, with the Prime Minister asking for councillors’ comments on her recent announcements concerning the WestConnex motorway and a taskforce to target organised crime gangs.
WSROC councillors took the opportunity to raise the issue of a second airport at Badgery’s Creek, asking for a final decision to be made to provide some certainty on the future of the land which is now on hold.
Several councillors expressed personal support for the jobs and economic development which the airport would bring while others raised concerns about potential air and noise pollution and asked for updated information to be provided to the community.
Councillors also stressed the need to move jobs into the region to reduce the need for residents to face long commuting times to and from the city which impacts negatively on their health and lifestyles.
In relation to gang crime, councillors from Bankstown and Fairfield noted that they would like increased government support for youth engagement programs and activity centres to provide early intervention for young people who may be at risk of getting caught up in organised crime.
The meeting was attended by the Ms Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Ministers Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Jason Clare and Assistant Treasury David Bradbury.
The WSROC representatives at the meeting included: organisation president, Tony Hadchiti (Liverpool), WSROC treasurer Jacqueline Donaldson (Blacktown), Mayors Khal Asfour (Bankstown), Ross Grove (Holroyd), Daniel Myles (Blue Mountains), Kim Ford (Hawkesbury).
Also in attendance were councillors George Barcha, Milovan Karajcic and Zaya Toma (Fairfield), Allan Winterbottom (Bankstown), Ben Goldfinch and Marcus Cornish (Penrith), Mick Fell (Blue Mountains) and Greg Cummings (Holroyd).
General Managers Ron Moore (Blacktown), Matt Stewart (Bankstown), Rob Greenwood (Blue Mountains) and Peter Jackson (Hawkesbury), Mr Greg Raft, representing Merv Ismay (Holroyd), WSROC CEO Mr Kerry Bartlett and Deputy CEO Karin Bishop were also in attendance.