The time is NOW for Light Rail to Carlingford

Published on 08 June 2015

Map of Global Economic Corridor

An essential light rail network linking Parramatta to Macquarie Park via Carlingford should be prioritised ahead of a ‘white elephant’ Sydney Olympic Park proposal by the Labor-centric Western Sydney Business Chamber, according to Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Andrew Jefferies.

A report commissioned by a consortium, driven by the former failed Labor Government Member for Granville, David Borger, makes a case for a rail line based on an idea that vacant land between Rosehill and Silverwater could be rezoned in the future for high density residential and commercial centres – which, while merit-worthy, would become a white elephant for the next decade at least, according to Mayor Jefferies.

“All four proposed light rail options have some merit, but a route linking Parramatta to Macquarie Park via Carlingford is undoubtedly the most urgently needed,” Mayor Jefferies said.

“Clearly Carlingford is ready and waiting now. The planning has been done, the people are moving in, and an additional 2,700 apartments are under construction,” he said. 

“The catchment for a light rail route between Parramatta and Macquarie Park via two university campuses, Rydalmere, Dundas, Telopea, Carlingford line, Epping and North Ryde is around 200,000 residents.” 

“While reinventing the former oil refinery wastelands of Rosehill and Camellia is important for Sydney in the long term, this idea is a distraction and a long way off realisation. Experience tells us it will take years and years for the environmental studies, site remediation and voluntary planning agreements to be drawn up before any of this notion can take the form of reality,” he said.

“Carlingford and adjoining suburbs need this investment now. Residents face a daily north to south bottleneck along Pennant Hills Road and feeder streets and deserve better transport than a dead-end line with a just few trains each day,” he said.

Mayor Jefferies pointed out that the settlement of Carlingford dates from the 1860s – a long time to wait for decent public transport infrastructure.

“I fail to understand why the Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park option would be built first when it simply duplicates the existing heavy rail line and ferry service,” he said.

“Shifting the priority could derail plans for housing development in the Carlingford Precinct, creating uncertainty for investors and jeopardising housing targets under the Metropolitan Strategy.”

“The residents and businesses along this corridor have waited long enough. Unlike Sydney Olympic Park and Strathfield, they don’t have a direct link to Parramatta. The Government must build public transport where it’s needed most.”

“If Parramatta is to reach its potential as Sydney’s second CBD, it needs better connectivity with the Global Economic Corridor – as outlined in the Planning NSW report ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney 2015’ - giving Western Sydney residents access to the jobs of the future.”

“Until now the favoured route for the first stage of Parramatta’s light rail link is to Macquarie Park via Carlingford – there is good reason for this,” Mayor Jefferies said.

“I call on the State Government to ignore former failed Labor Government lobbyists and get on with the job of building the Western Sydney Light Rail where it's most wanted and needed today.”

FACTS

  • Journey to work data based on the 2011 Census shows that around a third of Macquarie Park’s 47,494 person-strong workforce travels from Western Sydney on a daily basis.
  • A 2011/2012 study revealed that Macquarie Park contributed $7.8 billion to the nation’s GDP compared to Parramatta’s $6.8 billion and Sydney Olympic Park’s $4.2 billion.
  • A Macquarie Park via Carlingford line would alleviate traffic on Pennant Hills Road, recently rated one of Sydney’s worst roads for congestion by the NRMA. Current Carlingford population across all three LGAs is 22,606 (2011 Census) and is forecast to be approximately 32,000 by 2031.