Overdevelopment in the Macquarie Fields electorate

14 August 2018

Private Members' Statement

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (12:54): I recently spoke about my constituents experiencing the fear of missing out or FOMO as it is known in social media language.

They are missing out on their fair allocation of budget resources and missing out on the infrastructure we urgently need.

One thing we are not missing out on in south-west Sydney is overdevelopment and we have had enough.

For years the south-west has had to bear the brunt of this Liberal Government's unfair planning agenda.

Once green fields are now covered in rooftops. Our commuter car parks are full by 7.00 a.m. Our trains are packed. Our roads are clogged. Our classrooms are overcrowded. We have had enough.

I began the fight against overdevelopment in my electorate in 2015.

It started because of this Government's blatant greedy land cash grab decision to sell Hurlstone Agricultural High School's valuable educational farmland to developers, which was a sneaky decision announced on the second last sitting day in 2015.

That decision was in spite of previous parliamentary and public statements that not a blade of the school's land would be sold. A Coalition member even introduced a bill to prevent any sale. It was a community betrayal without comparison.

When I introduced an identical bill to save Hurlstone's farm from sale, how quickly they all ran. Developers and the Government are this State's Siamese twins.

Selling Hurlstone's educational farm was not about education; it was a greedy land grab to please developers—plain and simple.

I have spent years fighting this Government's appalling decision on development. Residents have backed my Hands off Hurlstone campaign.

They know that the farmland at Hurlstone is invaluable and this green space is a crucial buffer. It is part of our environmental heritage and educational future, and the only thing preventing the ever-encroaching urban sprawl and splatter.

But this Government does not care. It does not care that the quality of life for my constituents is under threat by overdevelopment. It does not care that green open space is a disappearing commodity in south‑west Sydney. It only adds to the problem.

Another example is the vital natural asset of Scenic Hills—the lungs of Campbelltown—and another green buffer.

Generations, politicians of all persuasions and the general public have fought, protected and preserved Scenic Hills from development but now the area is under threat.

There is a development application to build a cemetery with 136,000 plots on Scenic Hills. Like many of my constituents, I reject this development application and the attempts to spin it as environmental preservation.

If approved, the cemetery proposal would unlock a tidal wave of new development applications across Scenic Hills. First to be approved would be the cemetery plots, then incrementally, the development would expand. The green rolling hills will be further swallowed up by an extensive road network, a function centre and even a cafe. This cemetery proposal could very well be the beginning of the end for Scenic Hills.

The fight to protect Scenic Hills has been long and hard but I will not give up and nor will my community.

When it comes to overdevelopment, my views are consistent and clear. It is no secret that I believe south-west Sydney is drowning from congestion and overdevelopment.

For years this Government has failed to listen.

Nearly a year ago I launched my Stop the Squeeze survey because I wanted to give people in my community a voice and to listen to their thoughts about development in our area.

Thousands of people responded and their message is loud and clear—development is out of control, infrastructure investment is inadequate and we are not getting our fair share.

My constituents have watched helplessly as development destroys our green open space. They have condemned the Government's "planned precincts" that will forever change the face of their suburbs and turn their neighbourhoods into a developer's dumping zone. They lament the fact that this Government favours developers over residents, but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Time and again I have called out this Government for its out-of-touch planning regime.

I have made speeches, written letters, delivered petitions and asked questions on notice.

Still this Government steams ahead with its plan for high-rise monstrosities and increasing densities.

My electorate has had enough. We are fed up and we will not be silent.

I am proud to be my community's voice in this Parliament. It is time to stop the squeeze!