SHADOW Treasurer Chris Bowen and Innovation Minister Arthur Sinodinos sung from similar hymn sheets at the Sydney Business Chamber’s western Sydney budget lunch.
During the lunch last Friday in Parramatta, Mr Bowen said Labor agreed with the Liberal’s plans to build Western Sydney Airport and invest in health.
But Mr Bowen also highlighted the opposition’s views against the government’s idea for people to access superannuation to purchase homes.
He also called on the government to commit to ensuring that people will have rail access to Western Sydney Airport when it opens.
“We have bipartisan support for the airport at western Sydney, even though we have some differences about it,” Mr Bowen said.
“We support the scoping study, but we believe a rail line should be opened on day one.”
Sydney Business Chamber western Sydney director David Borger said it is important both major parties back Western Sydney Airport.
“Labor and the Liberal party are on a unity ticket, which is exactly what we need to see,” he said.
“We’ve had too many infrastructure projects in the past jumped because we didn’t have the two parties on the same page.
“To have them on the same page is great news.”
Regarding the train line, Mr Borger said the government has a lot of options to consider.
“I think having a train line to the airport is very important, the question is which train line? There is a whole lot of choices,” Mr Borger said.
“Some of the options go from Parramatta directly through to Badgerys Creek, which is an option you would pick if you want to enhance patronage to the airport.
“But the other train lines do other things. They open up housing, which is a very important function too.”
Other major topics discussed was housing affordability, health and helping health precincts reach their full potential.
Mr Sinodinos admitted the ‘Mediscare’ from the 2016 federal election was a factor in the government’s investment into health.
“People who use Medicare can be confident that they will be looked after,” he said.
Mr Borger said the commitment to enhance western Sydney health precincts is great news for the region.
“I think there is a lot of common ground between the two parties and the two speakers,” he said.
“The commitment to build the airport was very strong, as was the commitment to turning our medical precincts into job engines.
“Westmead and Liverpool are two of the most significant medical precincts in the country, Westmead is the largest in Australia, and what we need to do is leverage that to get private sector jobs in bio-tech, med-tech and allied health.”
One thing missing from the budget was funding for the Western Sydney City Deal.
The deal intends to create public and private investment into infrastructure in the Hawkesbury, Penrith, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Liverpool, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly council areas.
“What we need to see from that deal is an authority to develop the land around the airport,” Mr Borger said.
“We need to make sure state, federal and local governments are all on the same page, and if they’re not, investment is less likely to occur.
“It’s a pity Blacktown has been excluded from the city deal. Blacktown is a very important part of Sydney and really requires a lot of help to reimagine the town centre and connect it to jobs.”