Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Private Members’ Business - Western Sydney

March 15, 2021

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (11:36): I thank my friend the member for Parramatta for raising this important motion. I also thank the Chief Government Whip, but they had to get a member from Brisbane to talk about Western Sydney.

This is critical because we're at a point in time when we are recovering; we're trying to rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For us as a nation, this requires a lot of activity. We often hear people talk in this place about the importance of Western Sydney. We talk about it as a centre of population and economic growth, which it is. In my capacity as the member for Fowler, which is next door to the member for Werriwa's seat, I have the great privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that our communities are doing to achieve strong economic and also cultural growth throughout Western Sydney. I've seen the benefits to our community of what we can achieve when we work together.

Essentially, our work is to make sure that our areas remain competitive and continue to grow and prosper, taking advantage of the abundant economic opportunities we have in our region. The NBN is one of those crucial aspects of infrastructure that unlock that potential for areas such as mine. It also includes the understanding that we must have adequate industry growth profiles in Western Sydney, particularly in relation to events, manufacture, construction, transport, logistics, professional services, retail and health. They are all subject to significant growth if we can provide the right infrastructure, and much of that comes through being able to use the NBN. That's why it is so critical in terms of the rollout in Western Sydney, because, after all, this is the third-biggest growth centre in the country at the moment. It is an area where we want people to be able to get jobs and to be able to work closer to home, because otherwise we won't be able to build trains long enough or roads wide enough to get people to and from the CBD of Sydney.

This is a major development that's occurring. It's all very well that people want to chant the benefits of the Western Sydney airport, which will be good, as will its neighbouring aerotropolis, but only if we properly resource it to make sure it works effectively. It's got to be very much a strategic development, one that requires a whole-of-government approach, a willingness from all levels of government, quite frankly, to be able to work together for the best outcomes. To put this in perspective, as I said a little earlier, Western Sydney is the third-largest growth centre in the country. More than half of Sydney's population growth between 2012 and 2018 occurred throughout Western Sydney.

We need proper investment. We need an ongoing commitment to build public infrastructure but also to support our universities and our vocational education, our TAFE centres, out there, to build the roads and the rail lines to guide the development of Western Sydney airport to establish the logistics and, importantly, the sporting, the artistic and the tourism facilities, all of which Western Sydney can offer and can prosper in with the right investment. And that does very much impact on rolling out a fast broadband network.

The other thing which is also impacted by this motion is our reliance on small business in Western Sydney. We need to create local jobs and retain those jobs, and small businesses are a crucial aspect of this. As the member for Parramatta said, there'd be more activity with people working from home. They can only do that if they have access to high-speed internet. That is another growth area, but a growth area for employment, because, regrettably, we're not going to have another major steelworks or another hypo industry. Growth in Western Sydney will be largely generated by the prosperity of small business.

The Western Sydney airport and its neighbouring aerotropolis will play a key role in underpinning this growth and expanding the region. It is set to be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country and it will bring significant jobs—there's absolutely no doubt about it. One of the priorities I know the member for Werriwa and I have often spoken about is that, if local residents are given the opportunity to have priority of employment there, it will generate local employment, it will generate jobs and our community will prosper.