This week is going to be full of Western Sydney. Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are tramping around the area trying to convince the voters in a number of marginal seats that their team would be the best for the area, waving vague promises of jobs, laura norder and much needed infrastructure.
Now I'm going to honest, I don't know much about Western Sydney. It's an area that I haven't spent any amount of time in, and honestly, I haven't thought much about it apart from the fact that it seems to have become THE region upon which all election campaigns are based.
With that in mind, I thought I would educate myself on the region by reading the blogue posts of a couple of Western Sydney natives @prestontowers and @bluntshovels. Both of them are long time residents of the region and are informative and entertaining writers.
The first post by bluntshovels covers the topic of employment in Western Sydney, while prestontowers first post tackles the myth that Western Sydney is a sea of McMansions. I would recommend that you go and read both of them and subsequent posts, especially if you're watching the circus that is the political caravaning across Western Sydney at the moment.
One thing did strike me about both of the posts I mentioned above. With very little effort you could quite easily turn both posts into treatise on employment and housing in my own region, the Illawarra. We suffer many of the same problems (though with a smaller population). The unemployment rate in the Illawarra has historically been one of the highest in the state (especially youth unemployment), and with the major employer in the region slowly dying (yes I said it. In 20 years time I doubt Bluescope is still going to be operating), it's only getting worse. Population growth is outstripping infrastructure development, and politically we've either been ignored or treated as a prize in internal labor factional fighting.
The Illawarra is a region that reaches from the southern outskirts of the Sutherland shire (the southern most part of Greater Sydney) down to the Kiama municipality. It's a strip of land between looming escarpment and the pacific ocean that still manages to house over two hundred and eighty thousand people. Over the past few years it's had two councils out of three sacked and replaced with Administrators. New housing estates are opening up anywhere there's a scrap of land big enough, with infrastucture upgrades being left to the local government bodies, or frankly not done at all.
Public transport is one train line and a lot of buses. Hell, the train line between Dapto and Kiama was only electrified 12 years ago. My personal travelling time between where I live and Central is roughly one and three quarter hours (if nothing goes wrong).
There used to be a joke that the NSW in NSW government refered to Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, with anything outside of that line getting left out. I think it's shrunk a bit since then.