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Stuart Ayres' appointment highlights commitment to Western Sydney
The appointment of Stuart Ayres as Deputy Leader in NSW is a powerful sign of the Liberal Party’s commitment to Western Sydney.
Over several years Stuart and I have worked together closely on the Western Sydney City Deal, as the respective State and Commonwealth Ministers.
The City Deal is delivering on a long term vision for Western Sydney, in an unprecedented formal collaboration between Commonwealth and State Governments and eight western Sydney councils.
The $5.3 billion Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport, being delivered by the Commonwealth, is central to the city deal. On track to open in 2026, the airport is estimated to serve ten million passengers by 2031, and is expected to generate nearly 30,000 direct and indirect jobs during that time.
This isn’t Sydney’s second airport: it’s the first for Western Sydney.
Similarly central is the NSW Government’s vision for the Western Parkland City, first developed by the Greater Sydney Commission. The Western Parkland City will sit alongside the Harbour City and the River City as components of our world-scale city of greater Sydney.
Stuart Ayres has led intensive work to turn this vision into reality. He oversees the Western Parkland City Authority which is developing the new ‘aerotropolis’—now named Bradfield—just to the south of the airport.
The new Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport will be a 23 kilometre rail spine of the new city, running from St Marys on the T1 Western Line south to the airport and Bradfield. The Commonwealth and State Governments have each committed $5.25 billion to this massive project.
Together we are also delivering: the upgrade of the Northern Road to four lanes all the way from Narellan to Penrith; the new M12 motorway that will run from the M7 to the airport; the upgrading of Elizabeth Drive; and many other big infrastructure commitments in Western Sydney.
We are also jointly funding WestConnex, which will give people in Western and South Western Sydney new options to access many different parts of Sydney quickly and efficiently.
But the plan Stuart Ayres is driving has many other elements besides new road and rail. It includes attracting new businesses to locate in or near the aerotropolis—bringing many thousands of jobs with them—and a focus on planning and developing attractive and liveable urban areas with extensive parklands.
In the Western Parkland City many more people will be able to work in fulfilling jobs locally, rather than the all too common reality today of people in Western Sydney having to commute long distances for work.
There is a major push for more training and education places, including the NUW consortium of universities that will jointly build a new campus at the aerotropolis.
For many decades the Labor Party took Western Sydney for granted, continually neglecting the needs of this fast-growing area, which, if it were a standalone city, would be the fourth biggest city and third largest urban economy in Australia.
By contrast, over the past decade, Liberal National governments, working collaboratively at state and federal level, have invested many billions of dollars to bring transformational infrastructure and unprecedented economic opportunity to Western Sydney.
Over the same period, Labor seems to have been much more interested in the sneering dismissals of WestConnex by wealthy inner-city green left types than in delivering outcomes for the people of Western Sydney.
Stuart Ayres won the state seat of Penrith from Labor in 2010 and he has been absolutely central, as a local member and as a senior Minister, to the game changing outcomes the state and federal governments are delivering in Western Sydney.
Having worked closely with Stuart, I am confident that in his new role he will be an even more effective champion for Western Sydney.