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A recent workshop oin action. A recent workshop oin action. Featured
09 January 2024 Posted by 


And residents should drive the vision
COMMUNITY consultation can be an exciting way to drive fresh ideas in meeting the expectations of future generations.
Community consultation done badly can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy that is frustrated by vested interests in providing a short-term expedient solution masked in propaganda claiming it is good for the community.
Community consultation requires transparency in identifying local needs and understanding of the community context.
Blacktown Central Business District (CBD), the capital of the Blacktown Local Government area requires thoughtful planning so future generations can be proud to live in our local area.
Blacktown Council started in 1906 from humble beginnings as one of the smallest populated shires in Australia.
Blacktown Council population growth from post-World War 2 to the modern day has resulted in seventy consecutive years of being one of the fastest growing councils in Australia. The current growth rate of approximately 12,000 additional residents per year, will see Blacktown City pass Tasmania’s population by 2035.
Decisions made about Blacktown City will determine whether we take our rightful place as innovators and leaders in creating a vibrant city of the future or end up with a c-grade version of Parramatta as vested interests take over with capital rediverted to the competing centres such as the aerotropolis. Should we allow a select few, shrouded in secrecy, exploit our area?
People ask why am I so invested in speaking out for Blacktown? Why not just let it all happen as we have little influence.
SINCE 1959, three generations of my family lived in Blacktown (Doonside to be precise) and like so many others, we have volunteered, played sport, participated in community activities, and have endured negative commentary from the media but, we love this place and know the opportunities.
Blacktown Council led by Mayor John Aquilina in 1977 began the first transformation of our area with dreams of a university, having a sporting focus, building a multi-cultural cohesive society, and creating economic opportunities.
Australians own Australia
Gough Whitlam’s election speech in 1972 in Bowman Hall, Blacktown, spoke of Australian people as participants and partners in government. Whitlam said: "We will put Australians back into the business of running Australia and owning Australia.”
So why can’t the people of Blacktown City have a say in developing our future central living district in the heart of Blacktown?
The determination of Blacktown’s future planning should not be behind closed doors, by select people sworn to secrecy. 
Initial public consultation in 2021 touted the Dr Charlie Teo brain and spine institute on site of council’s civic centre and associated lands would result in a $750M construction proposal.  
The subsequent discounted sale of this substantial block of council lands to a property developer, Walker Corporation, in March 2023 with a proposed construction price tag of $2B.  
A senior council representative re-announced in December 2023 that the development will be a $3B with no new available public information since 2021.  
All we have is an artist impression; the cliché that it will be good for us as it will generate jobs, jobs, jobs; and the original Dr Charlie Teo syndicate will no longer be involved.
Are our youth, our residents, community organisations and the business community entitled to be part of the conversation in generating ideas or should it be driven by people who haven’t lived in Blacktown for decades or developers that have done little, if anything, in our area?
A series of workshops, open to anyone, has run over the past 12 months and will return in 2024.
Required is an open mind, imagination, and your belief that together, we can design a wonderful city that future generations will be proud of.
Would you like to see a town square that could hold major festivals? Improved traffic flow and parking opportunities? 
Environmentally sustainable precinct and a focus on community safety design principals? Incorporating our Aboriginal and multicultural heritage? Should Bowman Hall and other historical sites in Blacktown be saved from the bulldozers?
2024 is time for action, so if you are interested in being part of the discussion and workshopping ideas with industry experts, then contact my office on 9761 5222 or email blacktown@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Check Blacktown News website https://www.greaterblacktownnews.com.au/ for updates and workshop times.
Stephen Bali MP is NSW Member for Blacktown, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Public Spaces.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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