By the time voters go to the polls on March 25, Dominic Perrottet will likely own a Penrith Panthers jersey and be calling Westfield ‘the plaza’.
The Premier has all but set up camp in Penrith as the battle for one of the election’s most crucial seats continues.
On Tuesday, he visited Jamison High School to make an education announcement regarding air conditioning, before heading to Nepean Hospital where he helped turn the sod on construction of Stage 2 of the $1 billion redevelopment.
Joined by Health Minister Brad Hazzard, Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres and Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies, the commencement of construction comes shortly after the opening of Nepean Hospital’s new emergency department – part of the 14-storey tower built under Stage 1, which has seen the hospital become the tallest in the country.
According to Perrottet, who toured the new emergency department, the development is set to have an immense impact.
“To see firsthand on the ground, to hear nurses who have worked here for 19 years, say how incredible this investment is and how it’s changed healthcare in western Sydney, that makes our jobs all the worthwhile,” Perrottet told the Weekender.
“Ultimately, it takes an economic plan and strong financial management to make these projects a reality, and that’s exactly what we’ve done, and it’s a strong pipeline, so completing Stage 1, and now being here and starting Stage 2, which will open in 2025, I know will make a huge difference to healthcare in this area.”
Stage 2 will be connected to this existing tower, and will include a new adult intensive care unit, more in-patient units, renal services, medical imaging and nuclear medicine services, education and training facilities and an accessible front-of-house for patients, visitors and staff.
Perrottet believes Labor won’t finish what the Coalition has started if the government changes hands on March 25.
“They’ve got black holes in their budget. Our strong financial management here in New South Wales, our economic plan, has been able to deliver hospitals right across New South Wales – particularly in western Sydney, and right here at Nepean Hospital,” he said.
“This hospital didn’t happen overnight, it happened because of our economic plan, and Stuart [Ayres] is a part of that team, where we got to work, we’ve now opened this, and now we keep going. Labor, when they were last in office, had a $30 billion infrastructure backlog – they don’t manage money well, and they can’t build the schools, the hospitals, the motorways, the metros, to make a difference to people’s lives.”
Labor is promising to build a new hospital at the Aerotropolis, a commitment the Coalition is yet to match.
“They can promise whatever they like, but they can’t pay for it, and that’s become clear over the past two days,” Perrottet said.
“The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Look at all the hospitals we’ve built across New South Wales, over $11 billion over the next four years in hospitals and health upgrades, and western Sydney is at the heart of that. This hospital wouldn’t have happened but for the Liberals and Nationals, so Labor can talk, but they don’t deliver.”
Meanwhile, Perrottet has backed the plan to build the new Penrith Stadium on the grounds of Penrith Showground and Paceway, warning Labor may not deliver it.
“We’ve made that commitment in terms of the location of the new stadium, the Paceway, and we think that’s going to be a game-changer for western Sydney, and for Penrith,” he said.
“It’s a combination of everything – it’s the best health infrastructure, education infrastructure, it’s health, education, motorways, public transport, but at the same time, culture and sport.
“We can do all of those projects, because we manage money well, and under Labor, all of that will come to a grinding halt.”
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.