Greater Sydney to gain more green and open spaces with $290M plan

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Elderly couple
An elderly couple looks out at the ocean as they sit on a park bench in La Jolla, California Reuters/Mike Blake

The state government is dedicating $290 million to boost Greater Sydney’s liveability and quality of life. The city is set to gain more open spaces as the government recognises that people want more than just infrastructure and jobs.

Part of the package will see $100 million set aside to spot and purchase back land for public use, which will build on land acquisitions such as Fernhill Estate in Mulgoa as well as the expansion of the Western Sydney Parklands. Another $20 million will be spent on building or upgrading 200 playgrounds. Further information about the funding is expected this week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said they appreciate that local communities not only need schools, hospitals and transport links, they also want liveability.

“They want the open space, they want to know that they've got something they can preferably walk to, to have that wonderful local experience,” Berejiklian said. She added that they are looking at every single suburb across greater Sydney, wherever there is an opportunity to obtain a piece of land.

Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, who is tasked to manage the roll-out, said that the funding was a special gift for future generations. Although Sydney already ranks third in the world as far as access to open space is concerned, Roberts believes that it can do better and aim to take first place globally. He added that this is the first time any government has taken a planned and strategic approach to how the city of Sydney grows.

The Opposition's Environment Spokeswoman Penny Sharpe, however, said the government's record on green spaces was poor. "There's been overdevelopment running rife across the state, they've been selling off green space and a lot of the infrastructure projects have taken out more trees than they've replaced," the ABC reports her as saying.

Architecture and Design reported last month that the NSW Government has entered into a contract to buy the central precinct of Fernhill Estate at Mulgoa to enhance quality green open space for the people of Western Sydney. Minister for Western Sydney and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said the purchase of the site is a huge coup for Western Sydney.

According to Ayres, combining heritage, regional open space and a gateway to the Blue Mountains National Park creates a strong tourism opportunity that will be boosted by Western Sydney Airport’s development. Fernhill Estate is situated next to Mulgoa Village.

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