• Michael Andjelkovic

17 May 2018 The Premier Visits Casula Mall

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Liverpool Champion - "Our interview with the NSW Premier"

Madelaine Wong News May 10 2018 - 4:37PM


GALLERY | NSW Premier visits Casula

Our photographer said he enjoyed meeting the Premier: Photographer, Simon Bennett says "This is big news – the Premier just bought me a skim mocha!" Ms Berejiklian's response: "Now everyone else knows my order too!" | Pictures by Simon Bennett

The Premier GladysBerejiklian surprised Casula residents on Thursday as she walked around Casula Mall.

She was escorted by Holsworthy MP MelanieGibbons, along with their media assistants, security personnel and local journalists.

Several residents requested a selfie with the Premier who happily obliged and she shook hands with shoppers and shopkeepers.

After the Premier’s meet-and-greets with the community we landed a quiet spot for a sit-down and a cup of coffee and asked a few questions about topics affecting south-west Sydney.

Here’s what she had to say.

You’re the former Minister for Transport, you must be aware of the problems with parking shortages at Edmondson Park and Leppington train stations . . .

Premier: And guess what? As the former Minister for Transport, I’m extremely proud that we’ve built the south-west rail line. The former Government promised it and never did. We built the two new car parks at Leppington and EdmondsonPark and I’m very proud of that extra 1200 spaces. And of course Melanie Gibbons has been in my ear on what she hopes to get out of the budget so we’re looking very closely at that. But let’s make no mistake, the Government before failed to do it. I came here as the minister for railways. I built the car parks and made sure south-west Sydney had the public transport services it needed. It’s a popular service now and we’re looking forward to delivering on Melanie Gibbons’ request. She has advocated for that on a number of occasions and in fact I’ve visited the station many times. I’ve used the train there and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done and I’m glad to see the community’s growing and we look forward to the next stage.

Do you have plans to build a commuter car park?

Premier: We’re looking at opportunities to increase car parking at the site – we want to do what’s best for the community. We’re conscious that commuter car parking is important to us but there’re broader issues that we’re working with the council on. We based the 1200 car spaces on what we thought would be the population but it’s good to see more people are using the services than expected. Things have happened very rapidly, which represents confidence in south-west Sydney. It’s fantastic that people want to live here and raise their children here like Melanie Gibbons and her family. Of course we’ll prepare for our future. But when we built the south-west rail line it was just cow pastures. I remember looking around and it being bare.

The roads around Moorebank particularly are quite congested at morning peak. So what is the Government doing?

Premier: Well, hopefully, people have noticed how much we’re investing in the new M5. It’s disappointing the Labor party won’t support that project. People in this area know how much the upgrade is needed. That will take a lot of traffic off local roads and I want to thank the community for their patience throughout the construction. But we’re doing it for the next generation and we’re investing for out future. We believe in south-west Sydney. Being here reminds me of the kinship of this community and it reminds me of the values I grew up on and the people I grew up with. I feel at home here and I want families to know the next generation will have the same opportunities I had growing up, and more because we’re investing in this area. The Labor Government likes to say a lot but they don’t do a lot. We’ve come in and changed the way people look at south-west Sydney and I think we’ve injected a sense of pride into the community because we’re investing here. Having Amazon here would have never happened without us investing in the south-west rail line and the M5.

We understand there was a traffic study done in 2016 in relation to the affects of the Intermodal around Liverpool and Moorebank. Apparently the study was completed in 2017 but the details weren’t released to the public. Is that true?

Premier: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Melanie Gibbons might have a better idea.

Melanie Gibbons: I met with some of the objectors to the Intermodal yesterday and that wasn’t mentioned to me.

Premier: But in any event, we’re doing what we can for this community. We’re making the investments that are necessary and we’re mindful of reducing disturbance at this point. I’m excited for the future.

This is a question for both of you. The Western Sydney Airport infrastructure is being planned to get people into and out of the area as quickly as possible. How will this make west Sydney tourism boom?

Premier: Without question and in fact the last time I was here, we were at a hotel in Liverpool, Mr Hunt’s hotel. He told us he’s getting bus loads of tourists from China because he’s convinced them there’s easy access to the Blue Mountains from here, easy access to the CBD and other parts of Western Sydney. I think that’s the future of Western Sydney – it’s a destination point, not just where people go through. I love coming here because of the cultural experiences you get – the food, the people. There’s definitely a positive difference here.”

Melanie Gibbons: It’s bringing people overseas to be near their families.

Premier: Harry Hunt also set up his hotel to make sure it’s suitable for people with disabilities so it’s a niche service – it’s just one example, but I see that all the time in south-west Sydney.

Do you get the same respect as a man would get in your position?

Premier: I don’t think about that too much. But from the welcome I got today, I’ve been blown away by the warmth and hospitality they’ve shown me.

South-west Sydney comprises migrants and refugees. Your parents were migrants. There are misconceptions in the broader community about new Australians. What would be your first step to change that?

The Premier: Well I think people have a positive view because migrants for decades and centuries have contributed in such a positive way to Australia. I’m incredibly proud of my background. I couldn’t speak a word of English at first, we only spoke Armenian at home. If you work hard and respect the place you live in, you can do anything.

After our interview with NSW Premier we spoke to Labor candidate for Holsworthy CharishmaKaliyanda.

She was surprised Ms Gibbons and the Premier weren’t aware of the 2016 traffic study.

“My understanding is it hasn’t been released and it was completed last year but it wasn’t released to the public because it was commercial and in-confidence,” she said.

“Given the congestion and traffic-related pain that residents are experiencing currently and the fact it could be impacted by the Intermodal, surely the public has a right to know what’s going on!

“The residents I spoke with mentioned they had spoken to Melanie Gibbons but I’ve not spoken to her about it directly.

As for the response we had from the Premier about the parking shortages at stations, Ms Kaliyanda had her own question for the Premier.

“They’re aware of the problems, so why isn’t anyone from the department of transport or the RMS turning up to community forums to hear concerns from residents themselves?

“They don’t know the problems as well as the commuters do. That’s their lives – they can’t go back to the North Shore. So why aren’t Government representatives turning up to hear from residents so a solution can be reached?

“There was a community forum last week to which department representatives were invited but they didn’t attend. The Premier doesn’t have same insight as residents who struggle every single day.”

Given we had a short interview with a capped time period, we asked Ms Berejiklian if we could send her some more questions on behalf of our residents.

We also hope to press her about unanswered questions from the interview. She accepted our request and a follow-up story will cover the below topics:

Nulon Motor Oils facility.

Traffic from the Intermodal.

Koala strategies in the Liverpool precinct.

Work cover.

Privitisation of public assets.

Link to Liverpool Champion Article https://www.liverpoolchampion.com.au/story/5393846/our-interview-with-the-nsw-premier/?cs=1843

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