Mr PETER SIDGREAVES (Camden) (14:35:42): My question is addressed to the Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport, and Minister for Western Sydney. Will the Minister update the House on the WestInvest program that will deliver local infrastructure for western Sydney communities?
Mr STUART AYRES (Penrith—Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport, and Minister for Western Sydney) (14:36:00): I thank the member for Camden for his question. He is a strong advocate for his community, was able to serve his community on local government and has now transitioned to represent his community in this place.
The SPEAKER: I call the member for Rockdale to order for the third time. The member for Rockdale will remove himself from the Chamber.
Mr STUART AYRES: The member for Camden understands that, as communities grow, particularly across western Sydney, governments have to invest in infrastructure. The report released by the McKell Institute, which was launched by the Leader of the Opposition, said that the Labor Government was the worst investor in infrastructure across the country. This Coalition Government is leading the nation on infrastructure investment, and it is announcing more infrastructure today, with the launch of the second stream of the WestInvest Fund. This is $1.6 billion that will be going to 15 councils. It builds on the first stream of $400 million being directly allocated to those 15 councils across western Sydney. Those 15 councils are Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Burwood Council, Camden Council, Campbelltown City Council, the City of Canterbury Bankstown council, Cumberland City Council, Fairfield City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, The Hills Shire Council, Liverpool City Council, the City of Parramatta council, Penrith City Council, Strathfield Council and Wollondilly Shire Council.
Across those councils, there will be $1.6 billion invested in projects. It is crucial that members of the community are involved, and they already have been. The Have Your Say website has been open so that people can give us ideas about how we can shape the WestInvest program. We have already had 5,300 submissions through that website. Of those submissions, 31 per cent have been in the category of local traffic programs; 22 per cent have been about parks, urban spaces and green spaces; 17 per cent have been in the enhancing community infrastructure area; 11 per cent have been in the modernising local schools area; 11 per cent have been about revitalising high streets; and 8 per cent have been about creating and enhancing cultural arts facilities. That is just through the Have Your Say phase. The registration of interest process is open until 21 April, which means that community organisations, local councils, Aboriginal land councils, cultural groups and sporting clubs across the 15 councils are able to register their interest.
The Government will assess that registration of interest and invite those applicants to come through to the next phase, where projects will be selected across those 15 local government areas. This is a good example of the Government developing infrastructure, like it has done with WestConnex, creating value for the State and then reinvesting in people across western Sydney. These local government areas, particularly across the outer arc of western Sydney, are going to have to absorb population. Members on the opposite side of the Chamber spent their time in government cancelling projects like the metro and the Parramatta to Epping line. This Government has delivered on those things, on major roads, on major rail, and on new cultural and sporting infrastructure. It now wants to get a bit closer to the ground and engage with local communities to make sure that it is developing open green spaces and parks where people can gather.
Mr STUART AYRES: The Government wants to make sure that local cultural facilities are enhanced and communities are listened to about how schools can be made more accessible for community groups. It also wants to make sure that it is enhancing local, vibrant high streets, where there are so many fantastic small businesses right across western Sydney. As work patterns have changed over the course of the past two years, we have seen how important high streets are. This is our Government’s commitment to the future of western Sydney. It is building on an incredibly strong track record of larger infrastructure projects, and it is now getting closer to the ground. The Government is investing $1.6 billion on top of the $400 million that it has already given to councils. Coming off the back of this is another $3 billion, where New South Wales Government departments will engage local community groups and councils. We will be delivering a total of $5 billion across those 15 councils. [Extension of time.]
The SPEAKER: I remind members that at least half a dozen members have been away this week with COVID. I have been asked to enforce the rules that have been put in place. I ask the member for Mount Druitt, the member for Cabramatta and the member for Drummoyne to wear a mask.
Mr STUART AYRES: The WestInvest program comes from the value that has been created by WestConnex. That project has improved travel times, connected western Sydney and made sure that families get to and from work faster. It allows small businesses to do more work. The Government has been able to recycle the value of that back into WestInvest. Members opposite have spent the past 10 years opposing WestConnex, and they opposed this $5 billion investment in western Sydney. They have opposed every decision that we have made to create more capital and more value in the asset base for the citizens of this State.
Mr STUART AYRES: As we create that value, we are able to reinvest it in communities, which is particularly important for communities that are going to see increases in population. We do not want dormant suburbs at the end of long motorways; we want great communities where people can live, work and raise families. That is what WestInvest will be doing. We started with $400 million going straight to councils. We are today launching the registration of interest for the next $1.6 billion. I encourage every member across the Chamber, even if their leadership does not support WestInvest, to go out and talk to their communities—
The SPEAKER: I call the member for Blacktown to order for the third time. The member for Blacktown will remove himself from the Chamber.
Mr STUART AYRES: I will talk to all those great local community representatives who want to make sure that they participate in WestInvest. The message is clear: Get out and register your interest in WestInvest because this is the government that delivers for you.