Bankstown City Council is concerned by the lack of consideration to south-western Sydney, in the Infrastructure NSW’s First Things First strategy released last week.
Mayor Khal Asfour said the strategy shows a clear shift away from previous Government commitments to move more freight by rail.
“This is of great concern given Bankstown’s central location in relation to the intermodal network,” Mayor Asfour said.
“There is the potential for a sigificant increase in the number of heavy vehicle trips through the Bankstown Local Government Area.”
The Strategy also states “...much of the growth in transport demand will be by road over the next 20 years and congestion will worsen without investment in road infrastructure.”
Mayor Asfour said this appears to be setting a vision which locks in greater road transport activity rather than identifying it as a problem which needs a forward thinking solution.
“It is widely acknowledged if road capacity increases, the number of peak-period trips also increases until congestion again limits further traffic growth,” Mayor Asfour said.
“As such, increasing road capacity will not in itself address traffic congestion.”
Impact on M5 feeder roads
Bankstown City Council supports the M5 extension commitment made in the strategy, however it remains concerned about traffic congestion on M5 feeder roads such as Stacey Street and Henry Lawson Drive.
Mayor Asfour said it is unclear if these corridors will be improved or upgraded.
“It may be that more heavy vehicle traffic will be loaded onto these corridors which cannot cope now,” Mayor Asfour said.
Plan to reduce public transport subsidies
Mayor Asfour said public transport needs government subsidies to operate efficiently.
“There are few places in the world where public transport systems can be self supporting,” Mayor Asfour said.
“Removing the subsidy make other modes, such as the private motor car, more attractive and will undermine the objective of increasing public transport patronage
“Such a policy does not acknowledge the measurable and documented benefits public transport provides in relation to the environment, economic activity at rail and bus destinations, and to the health of commuters.”
Potential for flood management controls to be diluted
In established Council areas like Bankstown, land available for redevelopment is limited and tends to be affected by environmental constraints such as high risk flooding, land contamination or acid sulphate soils..
Mayor Asfour said modifying such areas usually requires significant flood mitigation works for the development to be viable and for this reason, Councils work to ensure flood mitigation is robust and long term. While this may appear ‘excessive’ to some developers, it is important for Council toconsider risks to life and property.
“The State needs to engage with these very real concerns and assist Councils in managing the risks development of such land presents,” Mayor Asfour said.