Penrith City Councillors have expressed their dismay and disappointment at the Federal Government’s decision to axe funding for vital infrastructure projects in our region.
Council fears the axing of Federal funding for the M7/M12 Interchange, Stage 2 of the Mulgoa Road upgrade, planning for Stage 2 of the Werrington Arterial and new commuter car parks at St Marys and Kingswood railway stations will have a devastating impact on Penrith.
Tonight, Councillors agreed to write to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King to urge a re-think on the funding decisions.
“It seems like Penrith, under this Federal Government, is on a path to nowhere,” Deputy Mayor Mark Davies said.
“We were targeted. I’m deeply, deeply concerned… they need to re-look at this, re-examine this someway, somehow.”
State Penrith MP Karen McKeown, who remains a Councillor, spoke at tonight’s meeting and blasted the Federal Government’s decisions.
“It doesn’t matter what political stripe you are, a dumb decision is a dumb decision,” McKeown said.
“This review may well have been conducted on a desktop, I challenge those making these decisions to re-think this announcement and visit our region to talk to our communities and experience the difficulties we have each and every day getting around the city and to our employment, then explain to us how these cuts are justified.”
Councillor Ross Fowler said both sides of politics were in unison in calling out the Government over the decision, saying he felt western Sydney was being disrespected.
“It’s a complete shafting of the desires and the wishes of the Local Government Area of Penrith and beyond,” he said.
“I’ll say to Anthony Albanese – I thought you knew what western Sydney was all about. I am very disappointed you’re telling western Sydney that you don’t give a damn.”
Former Mayor Tricia Hitchen said she feared investment in areas like Erskine Park would suffer if the M7/12 Interchange was not built as planned, while other major projects like the Castlereagh Connection were now clouded.
“This is an attack on Penrith,” she said.
“The Federal Government has walked away from Penrith.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.