Penrith’s community left in the dark on rail

TWO years on from the announcement of a new Metro line connecting the Western Sydney Airport with the existing Western rail line at St Marys and details about the project are ambiguous and unclear. 

The Australian and NSW Governments made a non-negotiable commitment as part of the Western Sydney City Deal agreement in March 2018 to build the new Metro line and have it operational when the Airport opens in 2026. 

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said this commitment acknowledges that rail will change everything for Western Sydney residents yet despite being only six years away from opening, vital information about the project is still yet to be released including where additional train stations will be built. 

“All that the Government has delivered so far is uncertainty. We are being kept in the dark on important details of the train line and are very concerned that without appropriate station locations the communities of Western Sydney will miss out on the promised jobs, housing and economic outcomes,” Cr Fowler said.

“Without this timely information, it is impossible for Council to adequately plan for the future of our city.”

A community survey and flyer released last week by Sydney Metro only heightens the uncertainty around the project with only three train stations committed, St Marys, the Airport and the Aerotropolis. No further information is provided on the website.

Cr Fowler is calling for Sydney Metro to come forward with the other station locations and urges residents to use the survey as an opportunity to reinforce their priorities for the region.

“Our region needs a public transport network that can service our growing population and connect residents to jobs, education, health services and housing of the future. A train line is the first step, but a train line is only effective when people have a train station to access it.”

“The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has projected Penrith’s population will increase to 369,250 in 2041*. Our Council and our residents can accept housing and population growth, but only if it is met with connected infrastructure so we are not all still reliant on cars.

“We need to see strategic centres of employment, education, housing and services along the transport corridor with stations supporting The Quarter (Penrith’s Health and Education Precinct), Sydney Science Park and Orchard Hills. It’s the only way to reduce congestion on our roads; provide a true connection to the Airport and health and education at Western Sydney University and Nepean Hospital, while allowing the promised economic growth to become a reality,” Cr Fowler said. 

Cr Fowler also questions the Government’s intent of the survey with no notice given to Council about the engagement and many Penrith residents still unaware of the survey despite it now being open for over a week. The lack of information in the survey and flyer also raises concerns for Council and community.

“Our community knows rail will change everything and has been promised a 30-minute city with jobs closer to home, and easier access to the new opportunities created through the Airport and Aerotropolis by 2026. Without a firm commitment on additional train stations now, it’s hard to believe the Government can deliver on these promises,” Cr Fowler said.

“The Sydney Metro Greater West survey is open until 20 March 2020. The survey can be accessed via the following link: sydneymetro.info/greaterwest. I encourage residents to contribute feedback and demand more information about this project.”

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