17 June 2020

 

Right now, governments of all levels need to support local communities, especially small and family-owned businesses, to keep the Australian economy moving. They are the lifeblood of our economy, employing over 44 per cent of the total workforce and accounting for 35 per cent of Australia's GDP. This is a time to ensure the security and the livelihoods of the families, communities and workers that rely on them. These businesses and communities have taken COVID-19 measures seriously, and, as a result, Australia is in a far better place compared to many countries around the world. It's only reasonable, then, to expect the government and bureaucracies to work closely with them. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some of the residents and businesses in Werriwa. Last year, the New South Wales Liberal government announced plans to extend bus lanes on Hoxton Park Road, which goes past their businesses. The proposed changes meant that it would be extremely difficult and cumbersome for anyone trying to access the Hoxton Park shops by car. I know these business owners well, and, when I talked to them about the changes, they were understandably upset and concerned for their futures. The New South Wales government undertook a consultation process, or so it seemed. Businesses made submissions and told the government exactly how the left-in-left-out design of the new roadway would seriously impact them and make it difficult for the local community. In fact, as outlined in those submissions, proposed plans could reduce traffic by 50 per cent. The result would be a catastrophe for their businesses. In a recent report released by the government the government has ignored their submissions and will now push ahead with these plans that could ultimately ruin these businesses.

There's really no point in conducting a consultation process if the very people the project will affect are ignored. Already suffering from the impacts of COVID-19 and the fact that they had to close, these plans will further impact the centre and their future. We should be supporting local businesses, not hurting those who have been serving our community for many years. Consultation should be just that: it should engage, listen and produce with the people that it affects the most. I am really horrified that the New South Wales Liberal government seems to want to push ahead with these road changes which may ultimately destroy large numbers of small business.

The government has passed over crucial infrastructure in the electorate of Werriwa. We need a lift at Macquarie Fields, we need the car park at Edmondson Park, and we need a rapid bus corridor to Western Sydney Airport. I call on the New South Wales government to support our local businesses, come out and talk to our community owners, and rethink the plans for Hoxton Park Road.