How I'll tackle Strathfield's big issues - by Jodi McKay

Strathfield’s new State Member Jodi McKay has promised to work collegiately to win outcomes for residents in her first four years representing the seat.

She says she knows Premier Mike Baird, new Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Transport Minister Andrew Constance well.

She is the new Opposition representative for the Police, Roads and Maritime portfolios which means she is the
voice on local issues such as crime, the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre and WestConnex. Ms McKay is an experienced Macquarie Street operator who once held
four ministries as MP for Newcastle.

She lost that seat in the 2011 state elections, and would later give evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about members of her own party, and Liberal rivals, who had plotted her removal when she refused a bribe from former billionaire Nathan Tinkler.

Ms McKay won the seat of Strathfield from former Liberal MP Charles Casuscelli with a 7.9 per cent swing, thanks in part to preferences from the Greens.

There was surprise when she did not get the
Planning portfolio, but Ms McKay says she is looking forward to the extra responsibilities.

The Sceneasked the new MP to tell us what she hoped
to achieve in her first 100 days. It was a challenging list –
including more consultation for the community from UrbanGrowth, a push to get the light rail route to Homebush from Strathfield, a kick-start for the Town Centre plan and aid for councils in their anti-amalgamation fight. In her first full interview since she was elected, Ms McKay spoke to Peter Lynchand Bernadette Chua

Working with the Government

"I have a good relationship with the members of government. Even Andrew Constance, the Transport Minister, said on election night that I was well liked by everyone and that I was
well regarded.

With regard to fighting for issues for residents, if there is a way around it that’s about negotiation and about having a conversation, then that is always my first position. I don’t want to have an argument.

To Mayor Gulian Vaccari’s credit, he called and congratulated me and told me that he was looking forward to working with me.

I think I can work really well with Gulian".


"As the new Shadow Police Minister, my first order, at a local level, is to improve the signage in the Town Centre so residents and commuters know that there are policing options.

But in the larger picture, I will be trying to clean up all the mess that is going on in the parliamentary inquiry with the upper ranks of the police force".


"Though I am not the Shadow Planning Minister, I am still the representative in the Lower House. I am still a channel for the community to voice their issues about overdevelopment and the lack of infrastructure, which I can bring up in Parliament.

There are two sides to the planning issue around Parramatta Road – there is the community consultation issue where residents say they don’t want overdevelopment and ask: where is the infrastructure?

And on the other side there is a situation where we need to accommodate 30,000-50,000 new residents and you have got an agreed view that population increases should occur around public transportation.

So you have this conundrum.  

There needs to be a bipartisan approach when it comes to planning. I think we need to work together on this issue because it will be one of the most important for the electorat".


"We have to understand what is appropriate community consultation. Our position
during the election was that we supported
the widening and lengthening of the M4,
but that was it. The challenge now is to understand the impact that WestConnex will have on this community. I do believe there needs to be a balance.

Labor believes there were not enough
public transport options, especially for this electorate which relies so heavily on public transport.

With this portfolio, I can now be more vocal representing the community on this issue".



Light Rail

"During the election, I pushed for us to have that position on the light rail from Parramatta through to Olympic Park. I think that’s really important and I will keep pushing that. I would see my job in the future as making sure that this route is chosen".

Parramatta Road/density

"I think there needs to be further community consultation on the plans for Parramatta
Road and it is something that needs to occur very quickly.

There was never any data to suggest why the density should be in this area. I don’t support this density in Strathfield at all.

What I always said is the target of 60,000 is arbitrary and there is no evidence to suggest where that figure came from. There should have been an outline for infrastructure and amenities attached to this plan, and some understanding and recognition of the impact that population growth will have on our schools and hospitals".


"Although I believe the Sansom report is good, there is information missing about Strathfield, which is an issue for me.

I think it’s important for all councils to participate in the process. I would support Strathfield Council participating like every other council. And if the outcome is “we don’t believe this is right for us”, then at least they have gone through the process.

If the outcome is that all councils do not want to be amalgamated, then that’s the position I support.

The position we took to the election is that
if it is voluntary and the community supports it, then we will support it.

I think it’s important to engage in a process and go through everything that is required of you and at the end you make a decision that is right for you.

Amalgamation is one of the most contentious issues. I can’t see the councils amalgamating".

Town Centre

"I’m definitely going to push for the Town Centre. I’m going to take the issue up to Macquarie Street and see what needs to be done to get this project going forward. I think if we can get the light rail route, then there is a big possibility we can get the Town Centre".


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