1. Tell us your name, electorate & political party.
Geoff Lee, Parramatta, Liberal Party
2. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.
Born in Australia, I am of Chinese and Scottish heritage. I am also the first person with Chinese ancestry to be elected to the lower house of the NSW Parliament.
I was a teacher. I was a TAFE teacher from 2003 to 2004 and a lecturer and Associate Dean at Western Sydney University from 2004 to 2010.
I hold an undergraduate degree in Applied Science (Horticulture) and have been a horticulturist for 20 years. I also hold a Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of Business Administration from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
I am a member of: the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce; two Lions Clubs and Patron of the Castle Hill/Parramatta RSL and Dundas Sporting Club.
3. Why are you running in this election and why should we vote for you?
My passion is to realise the potential of Parramatta. I first moved to Parramatta in 1992 and since that time, I have seen endless opportunities to improve our community wasted. It was like Parramatta had been forgotten by the governments over the decades.
I want to make life better for the people of Parramatta by delivering jobs, $5 billion in much needed infrastructure, and to make Parramatta the best place in the nation to live.
That is why I am putting myself forward for re-election.
I ask voters to judge me on my track record, including delivering: traffic lights in Carlingford; pedestrian bridge in North Parramatta; Harris Park station upgrade; the new O’Connell St Public School, which opened last year; a major upgrade of Rosehill Public School and new flagship Parramatta Public and Arthur Phillip High Schools to be completed this year; the new stadium to open next month; contracts awarded to build and operate Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 and a record number of government jobs relocating to Parramatta, with 1,800 Education Headquarter jobs relocated and 4,000 Government coming soon to Parramatta
4. What is your favourite spot in the area and why?
The Parramatta River foreshore, it’s a great place to jog and cycle along the river. We continue to invest in the 13km of foreshore to make it Sydney’s best shared pedestrian and bike path stretching from Westmead in the West to Shepherds Bay in the East.
5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting our area and why?
Congestion: Population growth means more people in Western Sydney, and this means more cars on our roads and more demand for parking.
Overdevelopment: We need the right development in the right areas. Population growth also means more density including high rise and more demand on local infrastructure, services and local amenities.
Cost of Living: moderate wage growth means families are facing cost of living pressures.
6. If elected how you would address each of those 3 issues (both short term and long term)?
Congestion: I am committed to delivering Parramatta Light Rail and better public transport. Light rail will move 9,000 people an hour and take thousands of cars off our roads. I am also committed to delivering more bus, ferry and train services and introducing new transport solutions, such as ‘last mile’ and ‘on demand’ buses that takes people to and from their homes and transport hubs. Delivering more cycle ways is another way we can take more cars off the roads, with the Parramatta Light Rail project including a new shared pathway along the Carlingford corridor.
Overdevelopment: We need to build the right development in the right location. That means apartments should be built close to major public transport hubs. Supplying more homes not only makes housing more affordable, for renters and buyers, but it gives people choice. Some people want city living, with all the amenities close by while others want to live in leafy green suburbs. But we also need to make our suburbs liveable, by improving access and connectivity to jobs, schools and universities, hospitals and transport, as well as parklands, open spaces and sporting facilities.
Cost of Living: We have already introduced a number of savings and rebates to help families, and to make it easier, these are now available at Service NSW, including:
- $200 in Active Kids Rebates and $100 Creative Kids rebates
- Energy Rebates
- ‘One Click Energy Switch’ to compare and switch plans
- Apprentice Vehicle Registration Rebate
- CTP Green Slip Refunds
- Toll Relief for privately owned vehicles if you spend more than $25 p.w. on tolls
- Seniors Opal Card Concessions, capping public transport fares at $2.50 per day
- First home buyers’ grants
- All savings and rebates are available in a single portal at service.nsw.gov.au, or
- Residents can also make free appointments with a Cost of Living Specialist at ServiceNSW.
Our Government will continue to focus on ways to help families with cost of living pressures.
7. What are the 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?
- Parramatta Light Rail stages 1 and 2 and continue to lobby for the Carlingford to Epping missing link. Light rail will transform the way people move between our city and suburbs. It will connect people to Westmead Hospital, schools and universities and jobs in the Parramatta CBD.
- The Powerhouse Museum will be home to Australia’s largest planetarium. It will focus on STEAM – that is science, technology, engineering, arts and maths and inspire our kids to become scientists, researchers, engineers, mathematicians and astronauts of the future.
- Making Parramatta an education city with Sydney University’s commitment to build their second campus -a $500 million investment for 25,000 students by 2050 with, stage 1, for 6,000 students complete by 2030 and Western Sydney and NSW universities joint venture to build an Engineering and Innovation hub in Parramatta CBD, by 2021 expanding on Western Sydney University’s already considerable footprint in the area.
- BUS SERVICE – many Ryde Mums use the local bus service rather than trains however they are always full and overcrowded in peak times. What plans do you have for local bus services?
I am committed to delivering more bus, ferry and train services and introducing new transport solutions, such as ‘last mile’ and ‘on demand’ buses that take people to and from their homes and transport hubs.
I am also committed to delivering Parramatta Light Rail. 130,000 people will live in walking distance of a Parramatta Light rail Stop which will move 9,000 people an hour and take thousands of cars off our roads.
- BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION SAFETY: With what has happened with the Opal Tower, are there are any guidelines, practices etc for all the new developments in the area to ensure these are built correctly and safe?
A raft of new measures will be introduced to ensure new buildings meet Australian standards. This will ensure buildings are safe, structurally sound and free from defects.
New measures include:
- Appointing a Building Commissioner, to act as a building regulator and with responsibility for licensing and auditing practitioners
- Requiring designers and builders to be registered
- Requiring designers and engineers to declare building plans comply with Australian Building Code
- Requiring builders to declare buildings have been built according to building plans, and
- Tightening protections for owners and owners corporations to ensure compensation where a builder or engineer has been negligent
- ENVIRONMENT: Climate change and the environment is a big concern for many families. What are your plans to help our environment in the local area?
I am working hard to make Parramatta the best place in Australia to live, work and raise a family and here’s how:
- Roll out the Parramatta Green Grid, a network of green corridors, that connects homes, parks, open spaces and the river foreshore
- Continue to invest in more bike and pedestrian paths
- Build Parramatta Light Rail and invest in more train, bus and ferry services
- Plant 5 million trees in Greater Sydney to increase tree canopy by 40% by 2030, providing more shade and making our suburbs cooler
- Continue to support the Parramatta River Catchment Group which is working towards making Parramatta River swimmable by 2025
- Continue to make record investment in our parks, playgrounds and open spaces
Below are some of the activities that are happening across our State:
- Return & Earn Scheme to reduce litter by 40% by 2020. Already 900 million cans and bottles have been returned since the scheme was introduced in December 2017.
- Renewable Energy Action Plan – the share of wind and solar in NSW energy mix introduced has tripled the over the last 5 years, since the plan was introduced.
- 9 major solar farms and 90 renewable energy projects are underway, totalling around 18,500 MW
- Last year we approved NSW’s largest solar farm, a $1 billion project at Yarrabee Park which is expected to generate 900 MW (more than ½ that produced by Victoria’s Hazelwood coal power plant) removing carbon emissions equivalent to taking 540,000 cars off our roads.
Solar farm proposals approved by the NSW Government in the last 24 months:
- Limondale Solar Farm, Balranald, Far West NSW (250 MW)
- Sunraysia Solar Farm, Balranald, Far West NSW (200 MW)
- Coleambally Solar Farm, Coleambally, Riverina Murray NSW (150 MW)
- Nevertire Solar Farm, Dubbo, Central West NSW (120 MW)
- Hillston Sun Farm, Hillston, Central West NSW (100 MW)
- Metz Solar Farm, Armidale, New England North West NSW (100 MW)
- Gilgandra Solar Farm, Gilgandra, Central West NSW (40 MW)
- Walgett Solar Farm, Walgett, Central West NSW (30MW)
- Beryl Solar Farm, Gulgong, Central West NSW (95MW)
- Hay Solar Farm, Central West NSW (100MW)
- Finley Solar Farm, Central West NSW (170 MW)
- Yarrabee Park (900 MW)