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Private Members Statement - Appin and Wilton Growth Area Lack of Plans Slammed

1st August 2023.

"I speak today of the developments and growth that are going to affect Wollondilly. These applications stretch from Wilton to Appin approved by the former Liberal Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts MP.

I have met with the current Minister for Planning and outlined concerns with the long list of infrastructure not provided by the Developer and referenced in Department of Planning documents. This includes Energy, Water, Waste Water, Public Transport, Major Roads, Schools, Community Facilities, Jobs and adequate exits in the case of emergencies.

I have since written to the Premier and his cabinet colleagues including Ministers for Roads, Health, Education, Emergency Services, Environment, Roads, Transport, Water and Local Government. I look forward to the meetings with each to discuss this with each as a matter of urgency.

The inadequate planning of the former Government should not be an excuse of this Government to let things continue the way they were. And the residents of South West Sydney deserve better than wall to wall houses and to be a political football passed between Liberal and Labor.

While this Government has approved the State Infrastructure Contribution Scheme, thanks to the former Government all the previous unstarted funds will be considered but remain unfunded. So much of Wilton went ahead with no SIC contribution.

Alarmingly to date there is no infrastructure planned, including no schools, no health facilities and a subpar sewer treatment service. There was going to be a possible health care centre attached to the commercial centre but that too is now at risk.

This commercial centre has no confirmed start date and is becoming unviable due to the land owners all now planning for neighbourhood shops to be built in each area. The centre was to be partially funded by a ‘top up’ contribution from all other major developers to provide employment for the residents and guess what, no SIC and no top up was made.

Also risking the viability of jobs, there are mining licences that cover this area. These need to be purchased back from South32 or there are significant restrictions of building sizes including limitation of floors. This affects the prospects of job growth and the community centres in the growth areas. So much for our promised 1 job for 1 house that was fought for by myself and the Councillors of the 2012 to 2016.

There are concerns of exit times for the villages of Wollondilly at present, significant infrastructure will be needed to adequately assess this. Council to date has not stated it is satisfied regarding these and has not had information presented to the Governing body to make comment. A report titled the Wollondilly Hazards Analysis and Emergency Management Study has been commissioned and sent to the Department of Planning for commenting in December 2022. While this is a Council document I have not had the chance to even sight it as the CEO has determined this is to be confidential based on advice. My community deserves the truth and deserves this report to be released today by Council with or without ‘agency’ sign off.

Through the approval process there has been a lack of input from the elected Council of Wollondilly. The majority of Councillors have stated they have concerns with the proposed developments. However, with the nomination of the single staff member to oversee the process, the advice by the CEO that the process is to remain confidential, it removed Councillors opportunity to raise concerns. This decision stopped Councillors from even knowing what arguments to raise.

While there have been environmental studies for the area, the only thing the Cumberland Plain study area has achieved was moving pinpoints of Koala audio sightings from the developer owned lands to private owners, stopping anyone putting even a granny flat on their block. Not funny in a housing shortage crisis. Not one Koala life has been saved as a direct result of these studies at all, instead it has enabled the developers to get away with more housing.

The infrastructure costs for the Wilton and Appin areas are over $2.5 billion excluding Drinking Water and Wastewater. With the possibility to gain a maximum yield of $528 million gathered from the new SIC if the full 40,000 homes were to be paid, this would leave a deficit the NSW Government needs to pay at over $3 Billion, or close to 5 years of the entire NSW SIC funding for all regions added together. As far as I know there is no Government ownership of secret gooses to lay golden eggs, so where is the money going to come from? I look forward to hearing an answer from the Government who now has to fix this mess."