WHAT WYNDHAM NEEDS IN THIS YEAR’S STATE BUDGET
The State Member for Tarneit, Tim Pallas, has demanded that Wyndham be made a priority in the upcoming State budget.
“Wyndham is the fastest growing municipality in Victoria and it is not good enough for our infrastructure not to be keeping up”, said Mr Pallas. “Life could be made a lot easier with a little investment – it is needed to prevent Wyndham from being held back from the opportunities available to other metropolitan areas in Victoria.”
Council forecasts that the population of Wyndham starting next budget year will be 184,191. It is expected to hit 267,000 by 2021. Wyndham’s population is almost 85% that of the City of Greater Geelong (currently 220,068), yet we are not being treated like
the major metropolitan area that we are becoming.
This budget, Baillieu Government needs to start investing in the West. Because the population is growing so quickly, there are a number of projects that the Government could be investing in for Wyndham.
Wyndham’s schools are one of the highest priority areas for the investment. In particular, Galvin Park Secondary College has been on everyone’s radar for some time and it would
be deeply unjust to ignore the needs of this school.
“The damage caused by the storms last year demonstrated how vulnerable the structure
is and the risk to students’ and teachers’ safety,” said Mr Pallas.
“The patch-up job undertaken just before the school year started back last year is a temporary fix only; the school needs a complete rebuild.
“We have had a petition underway for some time and the community has been strongly
Werribee Secondary College is also awaiting the third and final stage of the modernisation
undertaken by Labor. The support indicated for this project by the then candidate
and now member of the Government, Mr Andrew Elsbury MLC, who said before the
election 16 months ago that the rebuild should happen “immediately”, means that members of that school’s community should be surprised if it is not marked down for completion.
The growth in our community also means that new schools will need to be built to prevent
overcrowding. Almost a quarter of Wyndham’s population is school-aged, or soon to be (age 0-15), and with 1 in every 23 Victorian babies born in Wyndham, they will all need somewhere to go to school as well. It has been estimated that this amounts to needing another 26 schools by 2015.
Our roads are also starting to be stretched to capacity. The completion of the diamond intersection at Duncans Road should be one of the first projects completed in this area. $18 million had been allocated to this project by the previous Government and there is no reason to deny the people of Wyndham this long awaited project, for which the extent of community support has been demonstrated by the hundreds of people who have so far signed the petition to Parliament.
Wyndham City Council also released a report showing that our roads are reaching capacity and need urgent attention. Stretches of Derrimut and Dohertys Roads, which are currently over capacity, have had duplication concept plans prepared by VicRoads and now awaiting only State budget funding allocation.
There are a further seven that are also at or over capacity which are yet to have VicRoads concept plans prepared. Two State arterials will reach capacity by 2015 (Dohertys and Leakes Roads), and several roads that were identified as at capacity at 2010 are yet to be upgraded.
The development of the Wyndham Justice Precinct is also needed to adequately and efficiently address the needs of the community. If the Werribee Magistrate’s Court were rebuilt and placed closer to the police station, resources would be used far more efficiently.
The court is under-resourced for the number of cases it sees, with only two courtrooms and four staff, with very little capacity to meet security needs, be accessible to people with a disability or provide private and comfortable space to meet with legal and community services. It needs a new building to properly meet the complex needs of a large community.
The Government must also make advances on the development of the Werribee
Employment Precinct. Wyndham has been hit hard by the Victorian jobs crisis, with employment rates rising over 1.5% from 5.85% to 7.43% since the election of the Baillieu Government.
The Werribee employment precinct, a project promised by Labor prior to the last
election, will bring jobs closer to home for up to 60,000 Wyndham residents over a period of 30 years and generate new industries in Melbourne’s west, particularly in the transport, energy and water sectors.
“Investment in jobs needs to happen before we build more housing estates like the one proposed at Point Cook West,” said Mr Pallas.
Insufficient public transport is becoming an increasing issue for people in our community,
particularly the long waits between bus services, and the lack of connection between buses and trains.
The 2011/12 budget did not contain any funding for additional buses or increase the Metro trains’ capacity.
In addition, the railway crossings at Cherry and Cotterill Streets are two of the highest priority in the State and the failure to upgrade them is exacerbating Wyndham’s traffic problems and preventing our various modes of transport from running smoothly together.
The last budget bypassed these high-priority projects in favour of lower ranked upgrades in the East.
“The West is bearing the cost of this inaction on transport and the Government needs to start taking notice of the amenity of our communities,” said Mr Pallas.
Finally, Wyndham needs to start being able to access health and medical services in a way appropriate to the size of our community.
“Wyndham were unfortunately recently refused a request for an Intensive Care Unit and much-needed mental health beds are not reaching Wyndham. Mental health is particularly important in Wyndham, with Mercy Public Hospital in Werribee recording 648 overnight admissions for specialist mental health and 188 same day admissions in 2008-09.”
We need to be able to address these needs here without forcing families to travel further afield to other, already busy, health services.”