Next stop Western Sydney for growing light rail network

The NSW Government’s announcement of a two-pronged route for the Western Sydney light rail network centred on the booming Parramatta CBD is positive news for the expansion of public transport in Sydney’s western suburbs said the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).

“Western Sydney needs more public transport options and if we are serious about growing Parramatta as a genuine CBD for the west, it must have the integrated transport network to match the Sydney CBD,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

“If we want to promote Western Sydney as a tourist destination; our visitors must be able to get to key attractions quickly and efficiently – and importantly, enjoyably – to draw people out to experience the delights and offering of Sydney’s greater west.

“For over 100 years, public transport has been designed to get people from the outer suburbs to the Sydney CBD for work; finally we are starting to see that concept being broken down and a new focus on building up Western Sydney as a genuine, independent economy by improving intra-connectivity.

“Light rail centred on the Parramatta CBD opens so many options for urban renewal such as the Camelia precinct and improving the public transport connection to the sporting and tourism hub at Olympic Park.

“Sydney Olympic Park is a fantastic site during major events when the dormant public transport network comes alive to transport people to the site from across the city but during the usual working day it’s not the easiest site to access.

“Light rail will change that by providing a direct link between Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park and Strathfield which will significantly improve daily public access to the Park and surrounding precincts.”

“It’s also very good to see the NSW Government examining alternative funding models such as value capture along the route to pay for the construction of the light rail.”

Ms Osmond said the construction of the light rail to Carlingford was an important first step towards linking Parramatta to the jobs powerhouse at Macquarie Park but that it would need to be followed up quickly with the missing piece.

“Parramatta City Council has been a strong advocate of linking the two employment hubs at Parramatta and Macquarie Park together through light rail and that makes a lot of economic sense.

“What the NSW Government has put forward goes halfway to achieving this with the indication that an extension from Carlingford to Macquarie Park could be the next stage – we need to see a more concrete commitment from the Government to deliver this missing piece to ensure this route reaches its full potential.”