A new light rail line down Parramatta Rd to help transform dilapidated businesses and car yards into medium-density Paris-style apartment blocks is among seven key infrastructure projects which will keep Sydney moving forward, business and industry leaders say.
The Minns government has also been urged to fast-track and extend new key Metro lines, reconsider plans to dig a road tunnel under the Blue Mountains, and move to droughtproof the city’s drinking supplies by pursuing purified recycled water.
Ahead of The Daily Telegraph’s Bradfield Oration, heavyweights of business and industry have identified their main priorities for keeping Sydney moving forward.
Business leaders also yesterday warned the Minns government against cancelling projects already under construction.
“We’ve seen what happens when governments stop planning and stop building, and we don’t want to go back there,” Business Council of Australia chief executive Bran Black said.
The Daily Telegraph revealed on Monday that arterial roads like Parramatta and Victoria roads have been earmarked as likely locations for new mid-sized apartment blocks as part of a “French revolution” in housing supply.
Overhauling Parramatta Rd from a 23km traffic jam into a revitalised high street, serviced by a new light rail route, would be the best way to support new medium-density housing in place of car yards and abandoned shops, industry and business leaders said.
“Urban renewal beginning with Parramatta Rd would result in achieving the longstanding quest to rejuvenate Sydney’s first highway while adding at least 35,000 desperately needed housing units,” Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said.
Business Sydney’s “Three Roads” strategy, released last month, called for a new light rail route connecting Parramatta Rd to Green Square via Central. Mr Nicolaou said it would then be a “logical step” to rezone Victoria Rd and the Great Western Highway from Parramatta to Penrith for medium density housing.
“The three roads combined could add a staggering 75,000 medium-density housing units with a special emphasis on affordable homes for essential workers,” he said.
The proposal is just the latest in a string of plans to revitalise the ageing Parramatta Rd, none of which have come to fruition.
After a group of high-powered sports executives urged the Minns government to extend the $25bn Metro West line to Moore Park, there are now calls to extend the public transport link further into the southeastern suburbs.
Urban Taskforce chief executive Tom Forrest called for extra stops to be added to “unlock the potential for housing supply through the redevelopment in Zetland, Kingsford, Maroubra, Malabar, and Long Bay” as first proposed in 2008.
A final decision on the future of the Metro West project is due within days.
Premier Chris Minns cast the future of Metro West into doubt after he won the election when he ordered a review of the project amid major cost overruns.
Former transport minister David Elliott, who is now CEO of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, called for the Minns government to fast-track delivery of a planned metro line from Tallawong in the northwest to St Marys, while it can still acquire land cheaply.
Western Sydney University pro-vice chancellor Andy Marks said the first priority for the government should be to “clear the books” on public transport projects already in the pipeline. Mr Marks said the next “game changer” would be transport links that unlock “the outer southwest” like Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden and Oran Park.
“They’re the areas where the lion’s share of growth is going to occur,” he said.
Mr Marks also reiterated calls for very fast rail linking major population areas like Newcastle and Campbelltown.
The Committee for Sydney also said a new rail line dedicated to moving freight from the new Western Sydney Airport was vital to getting trucks off the road and moving an expected 41 million tonnes of freight by 2041.
Entertainment Quarter chairman Tony Shepherd was among those calling for a retractable roof for major sporting and entertainment events at Accor Stadium, when he was the boss of Venues NSW.
Mr Nicolaou has also called for an all-weather stadium.
Before the election, Mr Minns said that Labor would ditch plans to build a billion-dollar tunnel under the Blue Mountains from Blackheath to Little Hartley. The tunnel had been planned by the Coalition as part of the Great Western Highway upgrade.
Mr Marks said a “better link over the Blue Mountains” would be a crucial way to link Sydney to Western NSW.
Industry and business leaders were united yesterday in calling for an overhaul of Sydney’s water supply, to protect Sydneysiders from future drought.
That could involve using recycled water for everything except drinking water, or even adding purified recycled wastewater into the drinking supply, as in other major cities.
“We’ve got to have that debate in the community,” Business Western Sydney’s David Borger said.
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