Introduction

MACROC welcomes the opportunity to comment on The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities. It also welcomes the commitment by the NSW Government to incorporate The Metropolitan Transport Plan into the review of the Metropolitan Strategy.

MACROC has prepared separate submissions for the Metropolitan Transport Plan and the Metropolitan Strategy Review Discussion Paper; however it is important that the submissions be considered as one, given the connection between transport and land use and all other aspects of metropolitan planning.  A copy of the submission to the Metropolitan Strategy Review is Attachment A.

The MACROC Councils, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly, recognise the importance of long-term planning within the State Government’s overall vision for the future of Sydney’s growth.

The MACROC Councils have made individual submissions to the Department identifying the particular issues in the Transport Plan that apply to their local government areas.

It should be noted that the MACROC Councils have a unified vision of the future of the Macarthur region as a whole and are working cooperatively with each other to accommodate individual local needs within a framework of the bigger picture of regional development.

Transport Initiatives

The Metropolitan Transport Plan provides a snapshot of the major transport initiatives for Sydney proposed by the NSW Government over the next couple of decades. In conjunction with the Metropolitan Strategy the planning horizon for the NSW Government is 2036. The Transport Plan however only provides some level of detail for transport projects over the next ten years and offers a “10 year funding guarantee” for these projects.

The major principles of the current Metropolitan Strategy relating to transport remain fundamentally the same in the new Transport Plan, identified as:

  • Commuting to work easily and quickly;
  • Transport and services accessible to all members of our community;
  • An efficient, integrated and customer focused public transport system; and
  • Revitalised neighbourhoods with improved transport hubs.

MACROC supports these general principles as well as the State Governments strategy of promoting the growth and development of the Regional Cities of Penrith, Parramatta and Liverpool. However the main emphasis of the Metropolitan Transport Plan seems to focus on inner metropolitan areas and does not appear to offer anything new to the South West despite significant population growth to be directed to the sub region via the Metropolitan Strategy.  This is disappointing.

The major transport projects in the Metropolitan Transport Plan are:

  • The South West Rail Link;
  • The North West Rail Link;
  • New Western Express Services (from Penrith/Parramatta to Sydney) with a new underground city relief line;
  • Extension of Light Rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill and from Haymarket to Circular Quay (via Barangaroo);
  • M5 widening (from Camden Valley Way to the M5 East);
  • Completion of 43 Strategic Bus Corridors;
  • Southern Sydney and Northern Sydney Freight Lines and Cooks River to Botany Freight Line Duplication; and
  • Sydney Road upgrades.

MACROC is pleased by the Government’s recommitment to the delivery of the South West Rail Link as well as reference to a number of road and public transport infrastructure projects in the region that have already been identified or are currently underway: the widening of the F5, the widening of Camden Valley Way and Narellan Road, increased provision of commuter parking and improved transport interchanges at Glenfield and Macarthur Train Stations.

Other projects mentioned in the Plan, without any specific details, include:

  • completion of the highest priority missing links in the Sydney Strategic Cycleway Network;
  • identify new [bus] corridors for fast, frequent services across the city;
  • continue to support active transport;
  • introduce an electronic ticketing system for Sydney; and
  • continuing the Commuter Car Parking Interchange Programs.

MACROC would like to see more detail on these projects particularly regarding funding.

Listed under projects not included in the 10 year funding guarantee but that could be brought forward if funding was available are the M5 duplication and the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link.  MACROC considers both these projects to be an essential component to a transport plan for the South West.  In both cases these projects would facilitate access to a broader range of employment options for residents as well as encouraging new businesses to establish in the South West.

Given that South West Sydney is targeted to accommodate the majority of Sydney’s population growth in the period from now until 2036, the Government needs to make infrastructure provision for the region a major priority.  This commitment will then demonstrate the seriousness with which the Government views the delivery of integrated transport and land use planning outcomes.

MACROC seeks assurance from the State Government that funding will be available for the road upgrades that are urgently needed in the region, in particular Camden Valley Way, the Northern Road, Narellan Road, as well as the “link” roads that connect the South West Growth Centre with Campbelltown, and in particular, Badgally Road.  There also needs to be funding dedicated to the construction of the Spring Farm Arterial Road.

The Metropolitan Transport Plan does not clearly mention investment in the Rail Clearways Program and MACROC seeks clarification as to whether these projects will continue to be funded.  Such projects can deliver genuine time improvements for express services from Campbelltown to the Sydney CBD.

The Transport Plan also identifies a number of “Planned Strategic Bus Corridors” including corridors between Narellan and the proposed Leppington Major Centre, Gregory Hills and Campbelltown and from Leppington to Liverpool.  There seems to be a variation from existing plans with no strategic corridor connecting to the new Oran Park Town. MACROC seeks clarification as to whether the 10 year funding guarantee includes delivery of these planned strategic routes.

Better transport is critical for the sustainable growth of Western Sydney and essential in providing access for all Sydney residents to employment opportunities available across Greater Sydney. The existing public transport and road infrastructure in Sydney and in the South West in particular is currently beyond capacity at peak times and planned population growth will exacerbate this further.

MACROC supports the focus of growth around centres and areas that are close to existing transport and other services. However increased population will mean increased pressure on these services so substantial transport and other infrastructure needs to be provided before, or at least at the same time as development occurs.

In the context of South West Sydney, the Sub Region is targeted to accommodate the greatest population growth in Greater Sydney. Because of this projected population growth, detailed planning needs to be undertaken on a sub regional level and the draft South West Sydney Sub Regional Strategy needs to be revised in consultation with Local Government before it is finalised.

Transport Equity: Access to Employment and Services

Public transport is a vital component of an effective transport strategy. The provision of efficient public transport contributes to the well being of the region on a number of levels: to environmental and economic sustainability as well as by providing access to services to disadvantaged groups.  The absence of efficient public transport means more car dependency by residents and all the negative impacts that accompany such dependency.

Again adequate transport is one of the major barriers to residents accessing key services in South West Sydney. Many key services for Camden and Wollondilly residents are located in Campbelltown. Improved intra regional public transport and road infrastructure would improve access to services and a greater level of Government funding would assist in delivering of better access to services for all residents of the region.

There is also a lack of consideration in the Metropolitan Transport Plan to the outer metropolitan areas such as Wollondilly where there are a significant number of residents who have to commute long distances to access employment opportunities.  MACROC believes that the Transport Plan needs to focus on linkages within Greater Sydney.  There is an opportunity now for the State Government in consultation with Local Government to develop local transport plans that address issues that affect particular areas.

Funding

MACROC considers the Metropolitan Transport Plan as the beginning of accessing Sydney’s transport needs, however there needs to be a firm commitment by the Government that there will be funded strategies that will look at the overarching transport needs of a growing Sydney.

MACROC would like to see the development of a detailed implementation plan that would sit under an overarching Metropolitan Strategy and would allocate responsibilities to different levels of government, identify funding mechanisms as well as timeframes for particular projects.

Conclusion

The provision of better public transport and improved inter regional connectivity are essential for the sustainable development of South West Sydney given that the area is targeted to accommodate the major proportion of Sydney’s growth. Provision of better public transport has beneficial environmental effects, benefits for family and community, and provides the community with better access to health, education and employment.

MACROC seeks a “real” commitment by the NSW Government to recognise and deliver on these fundamental elements of sound urban planning.

In addition to provision of better public transport the State Government needs to provide clear direction on how the employment set targets for South West Sydney are to be met and what assistance will be provided by the Government to assist Local Government in meeting these targets. Identification of suitable sites for the future employment needs of the region needs to be undertaken in consultation with Local Government on a coordinated sub regional level.

The review of the Metropolitan Strategy and the review of the Sub Regional Strategies provide the State Government in consultation with Local Government with an excellent opportunity to improve the strategic planning of the Sydney Metropolitan area, particularly if these strategies are integrated with the Metropolitan Transport Plan.

Once these strategies have been integrated however the Government will need to provide firm details of how employment targets are to be met and how integrated land use and transport solutions are to be financed and delivered.

MACROC thanks you for the opportunity to provide input into the Metropolitan Transport Plan.  It is hoped that the comments made in this submission will be considered by the Department of Planning together with the individual submissions made by MACROC Member Councils. MACROC considers that the Metropolitan Strategy Review and the Metropolitan Transport Plan provides an excellent opportunity for the State Government in partnership with Local Government to develop a sustainable long term strategic and planning framework for Greater Sydney.

May 2010

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