22 August 2013
(Verbal Question, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
My question is directed to the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure. What steps will the Government take to ensure that the Central to Eveleigh corridor renewal project provides public open space, child care, high schools and primary schools, and safe cycling paths for new and existing adjacent residents and workers?
Mr BRAD HAZZARD: I thank the member for Sydney for his question and commend him for his interest in the Central to Eveleigh corridor renewal project. This is a vital area as in a sense the area forms almost the southern boundary to the city. It is time the Government took on this challenge and led the way. The former Labor Government announced a number of projects for that area that really did not get off the ground. The problem is that those opportunities presented at a time when the State needed opportunities. If Labor had delivered on the various promises it made some years ago, the projects would have been well advanced by now. As the member for Sydney will recall, there was the North Eveleigh Concept Plan and the Redfern-Waterloo Master Plan.
The North Everleigh Concept Plan was one of those famous part 3A projects. Do we remember part 3A? If Eddie Obeid was around, it would be rock'n'roll. There would be a coalmine there and there would be money out of it heading to Labor. The bottom line is that, contrary to what the Labor Party has to say, those particular projects were absolutely correctly focused on that area, but Labor failed to examine the opportunities and engage the private sector. It was very much a Government-led proposal. Community groups in the area and the member for Sydney should well understand that the issues that were highlighted during consideration of the North Eveleigh Concept Plan and the Redfern-Waterloo Master Plan will be very much on the agenda as we move forward.
We are keen to see development in the area. We are keen to examine the economic opportunities involved in residential and commercial developments that will create jobs for residents in the area. In relation to the other issues raised by the member for Sydney, such as bike paths, community spaces and educational facilities, they are well and truly in the mix. It is a matter of what we as a Government can deliver and what we can afford as a community. I recollect that in the North Eveleigh Concept Plan there was a proposal for some consideration to be given to constructing commercial and educational facilities. It was unclear precisely how it would be done, but it was certainly mentioned. The most recent announcement by the Government indicated that there is also capacity to consider tertiary-level educational facilities.
As the planning Minister, I can say that if we get residential and employment opportunities in that area and create new communities, particularly across the rail line, there is every reason to include examination of the possibility of new educational facilities. Obviously that has consequences in terms of capital and recurrent expenditure for my colleague the Minister for Education to consider, but it is critical. Of course, there are innovative methods that I am sure the Minister for Education knows about whereby schools can be developed in the higher-density areas of major cities. It is interesting that in Vancouver, British Columbia, they found that the communities welcomed intensification of density, particularly around the port areas. They found that young families moved in and, despite expectations that they would move later to the outer suburbs, they stayed. They raised their children in accommodation that was right in the thick of things with necessary infrastructure. The British Columbia Government and Vancouver City Hall are examining how to provide additional educational facilities as well as the public parks and open spaces already provided. That is the type of thing that we can do.
Involving the private sector is of course crucial. What we saw from the former Labor Government was that, unless those opposite were doing a deal for themselves, not much happened. This Government is eager to have the private sector involved. We know from the Sydney International Convention Centre's exhibition space redevelopment that getting the private sector involved and laying down some clear parameters about open space and opportunities for its use by the public are critical. After securing those parameters, let us listen to what the private sector can do. The Government and the private sector are very keen to provide a new opportunity to develop the southern part of the city, get rid of that Berlin Wall effect of the railway and consider the possibility of construction across the rail line. The Government will work with the Lord Mayor of Sydney. I have met with the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, and the council's director of development, Graham Jahn. We are constantly communicating in relation to these issues. I give the member for Sydney an undertaking that we will continue to do so and discuss the issues raised by him.