29 November 2018

Delivered in the House of Representatives

In September, I was pleased to rise in parliament to talk about an important development in one of the long-running community campaigns in my electorate: the urgent need for more commuter parking at Schofields train station.

Federal and state Labor have announced a joint commitment of $30 million in funding to build a multistorey commuter car park at the station. This announcement is the culmination of a combined community effort to ensure that long-suffering communities in Greenway do not go ignored any longer.

This is one of the biggest issues for residents in Greenway's northern suburbs. It impacts significantly on the quality of life of residents who rely on public transport daily. Greenway is experiencing significant growth, and it is crucial that this growth is matched by public transport infrastructure. Residents in suburbs including The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Stanhope Gardens, Schofields, Quakers Hill and Riverstone are all impacted on by the chronic lack of parking at Schofields train station.

Following Labor's funding announcement, I call on the Liberals to match this funding commitment and to get the project started without delay. Irrespective of who wins the upcoming state election in New South Wales, or the federal election due next year, this car park needs to get built and it needs to get started now.

On 29 October I wrote to the New South Wales Liberal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, making him aware of federal and state Labor's $30 million commitment to build this car park. I reiterated the dire need for this project to the minister and I offered to make this project a bipartisan commitment so that work can begin straightaway. As of today, it's been a month since my letter, and I'm still awaiting a response from the minister. I know he's probably busy administering some of the debacles that are currently going on in transport in New South Wales, including the Sydney Light Rail, but this needs to get done as a priority.

Over the past few months it's become crystal clear just how focused the Liberals are on their own problems and divisions, without a focus on the quality-of-life issues that matter to the Australian people. The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has been asleep at the wheel for more than five years when it comes to public transport infrastructure in New South Wales. Alongside the state Liberals, they've failed to listen to the community, which made its views loud and clear on the urgent need for parking upgrades at many of our stations, including at Schofields.

I heard the Deputy Prime Minister in question time this week talking about Western Sydney infrastructure. Well, he should listen to the residents of north-west Sydney, where the barriers to accessing public transport are at absolute breaking point. Schofields Station is a hub of commuter activity every weekday, but with the existing car park full well before 7 o'clock in the morning commuters are regularly forced into rushing for the trains, sometimes walking for 20 minutes or so in the rain or on uneven ground just to get to the station. By the time many residents reach the station of a morning, they've already been up for several hours—making lunches, getting their kids packed and dressed for school and preparing for work themselves. The lack of commuter parking is an added daily frustration that Greenway residents should not have to endure.

Just this week the local paper, the Rouse Hill Times, published another story about these frustrations. The residents surrounding the station are reporting that the number of cars parking them in and over their driveways causes daily frustration. Residents who work night shifts cannot park in their own streets when they arrive home. This is a problem for both commuters and residents in the streets surrounding the station. This chronic lack of parking at Schofields Station also continues to have a significant adverse impact on the nearby train stations at Quakers Hill and Riverstone. Many residents are forced to travel further afield to the stations to catch a train, causing further parking availability issues and impacting on peak-hour traffic congestion in the local area.

The Liberals have neglected the infrastructure needed to keep up with growth in Western and north-western Sydney. Their inaction at our federal and state levels is letting down the hardworking residents I represent, who already lead busy lives. Improving their quality of life should be our top priority. I implore the Liberal-National governments at a state and federal level to join Labor in the commitment to expand commuter parking at Schofields Station so the project can get underway straightaway.

I am firmly focused on improving the quality of life for my constituents and I implore the Liberals to do the same, because that is what matters to local residents: the quality of life that they lead every day and ensuring that their families have the time and attention they deserve, without the added complication of not even being able to access public transport each day.