Leaders want new focus on west

Wyndham mayor Henry Barlow was among leaders from the west who went to Canberra last week, to lobby for a city deal. Photo: Damjan Janevski

Wyndham council’s mayor and chief executive were among officials who travelled to Canberra last week to lobby for co-ordinated investment in infrastructure across the west.

Wyndham mayor Cr Henry Barlow and chief executive Kelly Grigsby joined a LeadWest delegation, which included mayors from other western municipalities, to advocate the idea of a “city deal” to federal politicians and their representatives.

Cr Barlow described the deal as “a co-ordinated plan of investment between local, state and federal governments,” which was needed in the west, because of the area’s booming population and birth rate.

“Along with LeadWest, Hobsons Bay, Melton, Maribyrnong and Brimbank councils, we are proposing an innovative set of policies and projects that will help meet the needs of the west,” Cr Barlow said.

“We believe the best way of helping Melbourne best meet the needs of our rapid population growth is to establish a city deal that will fund key projects like the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road and the Western Interstate Freight Terminal.”

The LeadWest proposal included requests for an airport rail link, energy projects and for a centre of parenting excellence.

Cr Barlow said he, and others on the Canberra trip, met representatives from the prime minister’s office, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the assistant minister to the Prime Minister for cities and digital transformation, Angus Taylor.

“We were very pleased that during our meetings both of the major political parties seemed receptive to the ideas put forward by the delegation,” Cr Barlow said.

“Having a seat at the table is extremely important when it comes to advocating for our residents.

“Our next steps are to work in partnership with both the commonwealth and Victorian governments to try and finalise a city deal agreement as soon as possible.”

LeadWest’s written submission outlining the city deal included a request for $50,000, or equivalent support, to conduct a study and develop a formal proposal.