Macquarie Fields Electorate Planning and Development

17 September 2020

Private Members' Statement

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (15:16:11) — Like every other member's office, my electorate office deals with local government issues and concerns each and every day.

While many of those issues relate to the basic services provided by local government, a great number also deal with residents' concerns about local planning issues.

Residents in my electorate take a great deal of pride in their homes, their suburbs and communities. They love their way of life and they love their neighbourhood. They want to have a say in the future direction of their suburbs.

Campbelltown City Council recently exhibited its local housing strategy, calling on residents to provide feedback.

In my submission I made it clear that it is imperative council champions the needs of the local community instead of submitting to the NSW Liberal Government's unfair overdevelopment edicts that will irreversibly change our local suburbs and their much-valued character.

After all, local residents expect their feedback to matter.

It is no use councils merely ticking a box when it comes to community engagement. When residents take the time to write a submission, fill in a survey or participate in feedback sessions the resulting planning policy must reflect what ratepayers want and deserve.

It is not every day that I agree with members opposite, but I listened with particular interest to the Member for Ku-ring-gai when he spoke recently about local government and its role in the planning process. I could not help but agree with much of what he said.

Of course, I do not agree with his attempt to absolve the Liberal Government of any guilt when it comes to the draconian housing targets forced on councils.

But I do agree with the importance of local government in shaping communities.

Of all levels of government, local government and local councillors are crucial to ensure that the concerns of residents, ratepayers and voters are heard loudly, clearly and meaningfully.

For some time now I have been running a very public and strong campaign about overdevelopment in my electorate.

Let me be clear: I am not opposed to development but I am strongly opposed to overdevelopment and inappropriate development.

By any measure and any standard, my electorate has done more than its fair share of the heavy lifting and borne more than its fair share of the burden in accommodating Sydney's growth.

What makes the situation worse in my electorate is that it lacks the most basic infrastructure required to accommodate any development, let alone overdevelopment.

Examples include the lack of a school at Edmondson Park, the plethora of demountable classrooms in existing schools that are at breaking point and the chronic lack of commuter car parking.

The response to my campaign — commonly known as Stop the Squeeze — was overwhelmingly positive. People have had enough.

That brings us to the question of how residents and their genuine concerns can be heard and addressed. Campbelltown City Council has a vital role to play in listening to residents' concerns and making sure that those concerns are heard loudly and clearly at all levels of government.

Residents expect and deserve nothing less than strong advocacy.

They do not expect rubber stamps and lip service.  They do not deserve a council and councillors who blindly follow housing targets dictated by the Liberal Government's overdevelopment agenda.

I have not been shy about making my views on these matters known. My letters and submissions are available for all to see on my website.

My position has been clear and consistent from day one.

I could put it no better than my colleague the Member for Ku-ring-gai did when he said that residents are relying on councillors to do the right thing for the future of their community.

It is time to push back against the NSW Liberal Government's plan for densification.

I look forward to Campbelltown City Council and its councillors owning their role as community advocates and standing up for what is best for their ratepayers.

Unfortunately, the current Campbelltown Local Housing Strategy merely endorses unsustainable housing targets that will have a detrimental impact on our community and its much-loved character.