Private Members’ Statement
Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (12:51): My growing community has urgent needs that can no longer be ignored and must be addressed in the forthcoming State budget. It is a fact of life that many in my electorate commute each day to work, university, college or TAFE. It is a daily grind. I have commuted for years via public transport for work, meetings and events. My community and I know only too well the personal toll that long commutes take. It is not easy. Getting up as well as coming home in the dark day in and day out wears you down and makes the days feel longer. At the moment it is harder than it need be. It seems my electorate office is contacted almost daily by commuters with genuine concerns about a lack of parking at train stations, non air-conditioned trains and stifling conditions in the summer heat, inadequate services to meet their needs, the lack of a lift at the Macquarie Fields station and the inequity of it all. These concerns are real and will only get worse as our community continues to grow. They need to be addressed now.
As local residents so often point out, the population of south-west Sydney is expanding daily. In reality, the population is exploding in my electorate. There are the Bardia, Ingleburn Gardens, Willowdale, Emerald Hills, Edmondson Park and New Breeze developments just to name a few. That is not to mention the Government's backflip on selling the valuable farmland of the Hurlstone Agricultural High School so there can be more concrete, cement and congestion. Where there were once fields and paddocks there are now houses. Where there were once market gardens there are now shopping centres, roads and more layers of concrete, tar and cement. The current growth is putting untold pressure on infrastructure including our hospitals, roads, schools and—not least—the transport network. Those who feel the pinch most acutely are our commuters who go out daily to earn an honest living. All they ask for is a fair go.
Week in and week out, they experience the squeeze—the squeeze into a hard-to-find car space; the squeeze onto an overcrowded train, where some commuters have to stand for an hour or more; the squeeze, on a hot summer's day, into yet another non air-conditioned train; and the squeeze up the steps at Macquarie Fields station, which is the only station in my local area that does not have a lift. We must do better. Today, I call on the Treasurer and the Minister for Transport to give the people in my community a fair go. A fair go would make people's daily commute no more unpleasant than it need be. A fair go would enable people to go about their daily business without the added burden of finding a car space, finding a seat on a train, or confronting a towering set of stairs. The time to deliver this fair go is now, in the forthcoming State budget. My constituents and commuters in my electorate have suffered long enough. The time for inaction is over. The time to deliver is now.
I call on the Premier, the Treasurer and the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to address these genuine concerns and, in doing so, demonstrate a real and genuine commitment to the community of my electorate. People in my electorate are hardworking. They experience long commutes, and all they want is a fair go and their fair share.