Prospect Electorate Industry and Business

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.40 p.m.]: I am proud to represent New South Wales' largest commercial, industrial and manufacturing estate that forms a significant part of the electorate of Prospect. It is a centre for small to medium businesses and larger manufacturing, construction and food production companies supporting innovation and employment, and it is Western Sydney's future. Many of Australia's largest companies choose to do business in Wetherill Park, Smithfield, Pemulwuy, Huntingwood, Girraween and Eastern Creek. They do so because they will have large amounts of space and a skilled workforce that lives locally. These areas are serviced by modern and well-maintained roads and infrastructure and are close to the geographical centre of Sydney. It is important that industry is empowered by having access to efficient transport options for freight and to fast internet that connects to customers and suppliers as well as having effective public transport options so that tens of thousands of workers can get to worksites.

Currently, there are big challenges facing the manufacturing and related industries in Western Sydney. There is significant traffic congestion heading into the industrial estates from the suburbs where workers live such as Bossley Park, Prairiewood, Greystanes, Pemulwuy, Pendle Hill, Toongabbie, Smithfield and Prospect. Blacktown Road, for example, could well be designated as a car park during peak hours. Residents travelling along The Horsley Drive and Gipps Road suffer delays daily due to traffic congestion. Wombat Street, a narrow suburban road, bears the brunt of traffic heading towards the burgeoning Pemulwuy industrial area, a fantastic development created for industry at the former Boral quarry site.

Finding solutions to these difficult challenges is the job of the State Government. The decisions made today will affect the lives of millions of people over decades to come. Take the future Western Sydney airport, for example. Putting aside the argument on whether there should be a second Sydney airport, the challenges surrounding the enormous industrial growth that the airport will incubate must be planned now, including a rail link from the airport to industrial estates so that New South Wales manufacturing and industry can use the airport for export and supply purposes. Large and small manufacturers will be able to better access customers throughout Australia and the world with more certainty if a rail link is built. Further, road congestion will greatly decrease as the trucks that are normally used by companies for supply and export will be taken off the road. This will be of great benefit and will make our roads a safer and more efficient transport system for residents.

To understand future challenges, we must look at where industry in the seat of Prospect stands today. There are an estimated 87,300 manufacturing jobs in Western Sydney. A significant percentage of these jobs are in the industrial estates within the seat of Prospect. Furthermore, there are nearly 14,000 businesses related to transport and warehousing in Western Sydney, a large percentage of which are located in Prospect. Tens of thousands of jobs also come from related industries and small business. The Arnott's factory at Eastern Creek is an outstanding example of this fact. It employs hundreds of workers and members can be certain that every time they bite into a Tim Tam, it came from Prospect. Morning tea breaks in my electorate office often involve the gleeful consumption of this local product.

Another great example is Batger Furniture, based in Girraween. It is not a large multinational company, but a family-owned business that employs close to 100 staff. Batger supplies innovative furniture designs that are used by many schools throughout New South Wales. In fact, if you have a child at school they most probably use a desk and chair manufactured by Batger in Prospect. Then there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny workshops that have only a handful of hardworking employees but contribute to local production and the New South Wales economy. Those examples show the diversity of industry in Prospect and Western Sydney generally. This means there is no single solution for the region and planning must be done carefully to protect the wide range of industrial interests.

It will be increasingly important that the New South Wales Government adopts a policy of continued investment in industry and infrastructure, and a strong vocational education system. These three key areas will empower the Western Sydney economy for decades to come. Finally, I reinforce one major policy that the New South Wales Government must support: There must be a freight rail link from the Western Sydney airport to the industrial estates at Wetherill Park, Smithfield, Huntingwood and Eastern Creek. Only by ensuring that this freight rail link is built will the region be able to truly benefit from the creation of the Western Sydney airport, and this will greatly benefit the New South Wales economy.

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