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HomeNewsUrban DesignSharpe focus on transport – an interview with Penny Sharpe MLC

Sharpe focus on transport – an interview with Penny Sharpe MLC

Development of Redfern Station has been on the list for a long time. There have been lots of plans for development in the area and it was always assumed development of the station would be part of these plans, but as they have fallen off so has the station development. Redfern Station needs action now. The lack of accessibility is untenable for such a major station and I support the Lift Redfern campaign.

Key highlights and concerns for you in the recent NSW Budget?
In the transport space, the government did what they said they would, but I’m concerned it’s not enough. We need to expand our public transport system, not just manage it. We need to look at ways to get more people onto public transport and out of cars. Congestion of the network is an issue and we are at capacity with tracks, trains and buses – we need to build capacity.

I am also very concerned about cuts to community services and the impact of the government’s decision to increase public housing rents [by including carbon tax payments as assessable income in determining rent]. I think this “carbon clawback” is a huge and inexcusable impost on these vulnerable members of our community.

As a strong supporter of marriage equality, what message do you have for anyone who still opposes marriage equality?

I think marriage equality is inevitable because the community is leading politicians on this issue. I respect that people have deeply held beliefs, and to those who still oppose marriage equality I say that this is an issue of equality before the law. In Australia, marriage is a civil institution and all people and all relationships are equal before the law. What’s really important in my view is that marriage equality sends a powerful message to GLBTIQ youth to say you’re okay and we value you and your relationships.

What are the issues driving you at the moment?

As Shadow Minister for Transport, I live and breathe the issue. For me, transport is the foundation of the city: it enables connectedness, economic development and access to health and other services. Getting our transport system right is about building the city we all want to live in. What’s happening to the vulnerable in our community is also something I’m focused on and I’m concerned to see the government’s cuts to important community programs and services, such as VisionCare, and the “carbon clawback”.

What do you think Sydneysiders will look back on in 10 years time and wonder how they ever lived with or without it?

In the transport space, I’m hoping we’ll have much better real-time data on transport services. I think smart phones will transform the way we access transport service info and I’d urge the government to open up the transport data to make this possible.


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