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Heffron – changes and challenges

Like other parts of Sydney, Heffron “is undergoing a transformation,” says Mr Hoenig. “The industrial sites of Zetland, Waterloo and Rosebery are gradually making way for medium- to high-density residential developments and this is affecting the amenities of local roads and access to public transport. While investment for more buses and the installation of light rail are always welcome, without an integrated transport strategy, such measures may also create other bottlenecks in the local public transport system. Residents are telling me that the South East Light Rail should travel to Maroubra Junction.

“Overdevelopment and traffic congestion are certainly the more visible issues affecting Heffron residents. These issues stem from the Baird government’s failure to provide comprehensive planning policies combined with their failure to provide an integrated transport strategy. Buses are over-crowded, particularly during the peak periods, and young couples who have recently moved into the area are raising concerns about the availability of spaces in local schools for their children. Cuts to public health are being felt by the community. Waiting times in the emergency department of public hospitals including the Prince of Wales Hospital are steadily increasing, and our ambulances are bottlenecked waiting to offload patients.

“Green Square is located at the heart of Heffron and is also going through a process of transition. Undertaking infrastructure works should be guided by an overarching vision and planning should be done in consultation with the local community. This process should be transparent so residents are able to voice their concerns. If the Baird government really did care for the residents of Zetland, Waterloo and Alexandria, it would have implemented a comprehensive community consultation process before undertaking infrastructure works, or approving medium to high density developments.”

Osman Faruqi (Greens) is the son of Dr Mehreen Faruqi, who ran as a candidate for Heffron in both 2011 and 2012, and then became the first Muslim woman to enter an Australian parliament when she filled a casual vacancy for the Greens in the NSW Upper House in 2013. Mr Faruqi says both Labor and Liberal state governments have treated Heffron like a developers’ paradise.

“The Westconnex motorway is a key issue for Heffron, with the NSW government racing ahead to fast-track construction of the first stage by 2019 without any environmental impact assessment. This $15 billion project won’t solve Sydney’s transport problems but will chew up parklands and add an extra 100,000 cars a day to local roads. The Greens are the only party in Heffron to stand with the community to oppose Westconnex and divert funding to real public transport solutions.” Faruqi also wants more investment in public housing to improve housing affordability as well as investment in social services and infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing population.

Privatisation of public assets is another key issue for the Greens. Faruqi cited the government’s UrbanGrowth Development Corporation announcement in December to sell the Australian Technology Park. “The desires of private developers have trumped the needs and concerns of the local community. To ensure the vibrancy and liveability of the electorate we need serious investment in public housing, public transport, health and education services. We need to make sure the area is affordable for workers, students and families and we need to ensure that children growing up in the area will be able to go to school nearby. The Greens are committed to expanding local public transport services and this includes increasing bus services, buying back the Airport Line, and reducing fares as well as constructing a new light rail line connecting Alexandria, Zetland, Green Square and Waterloo to the CBD.”

Liberal candidate John Koutsoukis says the important issues for Heffron are essential services such as health, transport and education.

 

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