Labor Granville candidate Julia Finn has slammed the Baird government for ‘‘wasting’’ money on a ‘‘shameless’’ Opal advertising campaign while commuters in Wentworthville wait for a lift.
Ms Finn, a Parramatta councillor, joined state opposition leader John Robertson to criticise the government’s $500,000 YouTube Opal card campaign, with its lycra-wearing “Opal Man”, and to accuse Parramatta Liberal MP Geoff Lee of ‘‘dropping the ball’’ on his 2013 promise to Wentworthville commuters.
‘‘Geoff Lee stood in the NSW parliament and thanked the local community and the Transport Minister for supporting this much needed upgrade,’’ Ms Finn said. ‘‘The community is still waiting.’’
But Parramatta Liberal MP Geoff Lee told the Sun the former Labor government "had 16 years to do something about Wentworthville" and "not one of them ever did".
"In 2012, I worked closely with the Wentworthville business community to get over 11,000 signatures to petition for lifts for Wentworthville Station, a station that for 16 years was ignored by Labor," Dr Lee said.
"Now we're finally getting something done."
In June last year, the state government announced it would fund lifts for the station to make it accessible for wheelchair users, the elderly and people with prams.
On April 1 this year, Holroyd councillors Lisa Lake and Greg Cummings pushed for an official update on the project and timeline details from transport minister Gladys Berejiklian.
At the time, Cr Lake told the Sun a promise was made ‘‘and we’d like it to be honoured’’.
“People were anticipating something occurring this year,’’ Cr Lake said.
One of the more than 11,000 signatories of a 2013 petition for the lifts, Wentworthville wheelchair user Peter Simpson, believed it would not happen for another five years.
“They give you the “oh, we’ve got to put out tenders for design,” then “we’ve got to put out tenders for construction”. Those things don’t take 11 months,’’ Mr Simpson said. “I work with architects and within a month they can have some good designs out there.’’
In April, a spokesman for Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said ‘‘detailed design’’ work was underway for the upgrade, with planning approval documents to be placed on public exhibition ‘‘later this year’’.
“Concept designs are being completed now [April] to confirm the final scope of work,” the spokesman said. “Details about project cost and timing will be available once the scope of works is confirmed and the tendering process completed.”
On July 18, a Transport for NSW spokesman told the Sun: "Planning work is underway to deliver a multi-million dollar upgrade at Wentworthville Station. Transport for NSW is preparing to call tenders in the coming months for this major accessibility upgrade, which includes a new lift for customers."