Residents of 15 Western Sydney local government areas (LGAs) have been invited to put forward their ideas on community projects they think should be funded as part of the first wave of the NSW government’s $5 billion (US$3.59 billion) WestInvest initiative.
WestInvest will see funding and delivery of transformational projects designed to enhance communities and create jobs across western and south-western Sydney, with a total of $2 billion ($1.44 billion) to be reserved for high-priority community projects and $400 million ($287 million) allocated directly to the 15 LGAs to advance local projects that are ready to commence.
Included in the list of LGAs are Blacktown, the Blue Mountains, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, and Strathfield.
In a media release on Thursday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Sydney’s west and south-west are already great places to live, but the project will secure an even brighter future for residents through the construction of new and improved facilities.
“We want people to love living locally, and this investment will deliver improved facilities, more open spaces, convenient services, and stimulate the economy,” he said.
In a social media post also on Thursday, Perrottet asked residents of the LGAs involved to have their say on what new infrastructure is needed or needs to be upgraded.
“If you live in one of the LGAs part of the program, we’d love your thoughts on how we can improve your life in western and south-western Sydney,” he said.
To facilitate this, the Government has set up a portal through which residents can share their ideas across six potential areas to be funded, which are parks, urban spaces and green space; enhancing community infrastructure; modernising local schools; creating and enhancing arts and cultural facilities; revitalising high-streets; and local traffic programs.
“In the coming months, we will be working with council and community groups to capture all ideas and ensure we deliver great projects that will leave a fantastic legacy for generations to come,” Perrottet said.
Of the $400 million allocated, each local council will be eligible for between $20 million ($14.4 million) and $35 million ($25.1 million), depending on their population size.
The remaining $1.6 billion ($1.15 billion) of the $2 billion project fund will be allocated based on a competitive round of grants open to non-government organisations (NGOs) such as community groups, local Aboriginal land councils, not for profit organisations, and local councils.
The other $3 million ($2.15 billion) will be given to NSW Government agencies to undertake projects that are ready to commence and will benefit local communities.
Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the communities of western Sydney are a diverse mix of cultures and people from all walks of life, and the WestInvest-funded programs will reflect and enhance that diversity.
“The pandemic made it clear where we need to do more to improve liveability in our communities and deliver better local facilities, and I am excited to see work already underway to turn WestInvest ideas into reality,” he said.
Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman encouraged all residents of the 15 LGAs to submit suggestions, adding that “We want to support our rich and diverse communities in West and South-West Sydney in ways they want and need.”
The portal is open for suggestions until March 31, 2022.