Local MP calls out Liberal Government’s pork-barrelling over station upgrades

19 June 2018

The Liberal Government has once again failed to fund a much-needed upgrade to Macquarie Fields Station in this year’s State Budget, with local MP Anoulack Chanthivong MP calling out the Liberal Government for skulduggery.  

“The honest hard-working people in the Macquarie Fields electorate have been short-changed yet again, all the while this Liberal Government plays tricks to bump up station upgrades in Liberal electorates and jokes about it to their constituents.

“The Liberal Government is sitting on a $3.9 billion surplus but can’t find $20 million for a lift at Macquarie Fields? This is outrageous. The Liberal Government is blatantly pork-barrelling and it makes a mockery of this Government’s whole Transport Access Program.”

Mr Chanthivong’s comments come after NSW Cabinet Minister Matt Kean was caught on video boasting that political “skulduggery and manoeuvring” resulted in his local railway station – Hawkesbury River – being “bumped up” 150 spots to get a lift.

In the video, Mr Kean confesses to a group of local residents that Treasurer Dominic Perrottet ordered the tiny station on the Hawkesbury River jump the queue because he mistakenly thought it was in his own electorate.

Most recently available weekly Opal patronage data shows that 861 people accessed Hawkesbury River Station, compared to 7607 people using Macquarie Fields Station. It makes no sense that Hawkesbury River Station, near Brooklyn on the outskirts of Sydney, which has only a small fraction of the patronage of Macquarie Fields station, gets an immediate upgrade whilst a busier train station misses out – yet again.

“I find it astounding that a tiny and remote station on the Hawkesbury River receives an upgrade over Macquarie Fields Station in one of Sydney’s fast-growing suburban regions. It is blatant pork-barrelling by a Liberal Government that simply doesn’t care about the needs of people in my electorate or south-west Sydney.  

“The Liberals are manipulating the system to their advantage and this is both wrong and grossly unfair.”

Macquarie Fields Station missed out on funding in the State Budget, despite an extra $113 million for station accessibility.

Mr Chanthivong had previously warned local residents to be prepared for further disappointment with life under the Liberals, citing an ongoing lack of commitment to address the local area’s infrastructure deficit.

“We’ve had enough of being given a raw deal. Where’s our fair share?” Mr Chanthivong said.