1. Tell us your name, electorate & political party
Victor Dominello, Ryde, and the NSW Liberals.
2. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life
I come from a large Italian family who have lived in Ryde for 80+ years. When I say ‘large’, I really mean it. On December 26 most people have Boxing Day, but we have ‘Dom Day’, where the Dominello side of the family get together. There are about 50 of us – but I lose count as the tribe gets bigger every year!
As for the hats I wear in my life… I’m a proud uncle to 4 nephews and one niece, a brother to two beautiful sisters, and a son to my mum (who is an Earth Angel).
The other hat I wear is one of a “clean freak” – Marie Kondo and I are kindred spirits. I love music and cooking. Prior to politics, I was the litigation partner in a law firm for 15 years. We had about 20 staff, so I understand the pressures of small business.
3. Why are you running in this election and why should we vote for you?
My family has lived in Ryde for over 80 years. As a proud local who was born, raised and educated here in Ryde, I want to give back to my community that has been home to my family for generations.
I have a strong vision for Ryde. The next 5 years will be the Ryde Renaissance. The North-West Metro, the Ryde Hospital rebuild, the new schools and major upgrades, a nation leading TAFE in Meadowbank, major major road improvements to Herring and Victoria Roads and new sports facilities will see unprecedented improvements to health, education, transport and sports in our area. It truly will be an exciting time.
4. What is your favourite spot in the area and why?
Meadowbank, because I really enjoy cycling along the river.
5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting our area and why?
Overdevelopment, education, and health. Overdevelopment puts pressure on the existing social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, transport, parks, roads etc). I got into public life to improve outcomes. The 2 great enablers in society are health and education. So my focus will also be to rebuild Ryde Hospital and build new and upgrade existing schools, as well as Meadowbank TAFE.
6. If elected how would you address each of those 3 issues (both short term and long term)?
I have fought against the overdevelopment in Ryde since I first got elected. Together with the community, we have saved Tennis World, Blenheim Park, Dunbar Estate, TG Milner, Smalls Road and Macquarie Ice Rink from developers. We worked with the community to oppose the 63 storey towers.
People are genuinely sick and tired of the blame game. All levels of Government and all sides of politics must take responsibility. I cannot change the sub-optimal relationship that existed between Department of Planning and Ryde Council in the past. The reality is whilst these two organisations were fighting, developers were winning and the community was losing.
We need a new way forward. That is why I asked for the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) to step in. The GSC has already delivered its preliminary report, which provides real hope for the future. In essence the GSC will now:
- Continue the pause on future and existing residential spot rezoning applications;
- Oversee the Ryde council’s next Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to ensure that it has the ability to be supported by social infrastructure. I am of the strong view that our local LEP should more aligned to that of Lane Cove/Hunters Hill. Medium density and high density should be significantly curtailed for at least the next 5 years.
- Chair a working group (including Council, Dept of Planning, Education, Transport, Heath) to develop a master plan for Macquarie Park and other potential key areas such as the West Ryde Jobs Park.
There is a real opportunity for the GSC to assist in the master planning of the West Ryde Jobs Precinct. Particularly when combined with the surplus land on the Sydney Water Pumping station site and the Meadowbank Education Precinct. A Master Planning of these areas could provide solutions for traffic – for example, to widen Hermitage Rd, provide more green and open space for community and school use and bike paths connecting West Ryde and Meadowbank.
It also provides an opportunity to convert the current old industrial zoning (between Victoria Rd and the Meadowbank TAFE) to a modern retail/commercial precinct – akin to the Grounds of Alexandria or the Brickworks in Melbourne. I am really looking forward to working with the GSC and Council to realise this win for our community.
Rebuild Ryde Hospital – see below.
Build new schools and major upgrades – see below.
7. What are the 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?
Rebuild Ryde Hospital
Ryde Hospital holds a special place in my family’s heart – my two sisters and I were born in Denistone House, as I’m sure many other RDM readers were.
The NSW Liberal Government will invest $479 million to rebuild Ryde Hospital, to deliver world-class healthcare and provide additional capacity for the local community.
It is essentially a new Ryde Hospital. Denistone House will be preserved and surrounded by modern and enhanced emergency, critical care, inpatient, community and ambulatory care services, as well as maternity services. This is in addition to the $9 million upgrade to improve coronary care, high dependency and medical inpatient wards that was completed in 2017.
This will completely transform Ryde Hospital – consultation with community will commence in 2020-21, with construction commencing in 2022-23.
This is a project that I have been working on since early 2016. Preliminary due diligence has been completed and the budget set.
Build & upgrade schools in the Ryde area
The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has secured 7 new schools and 4 major schools upgrades in the Ryde area, including:
- Building a new primary school in Smalls Road, which is currently under construction and will open next year. The site was previously Ryde High, which was closed by the Labor government in 1986. We successfully won the fight against development of this site in 2016.
- Rebuilding Peter Board High School and building a new primary school.
- Securing a new Catholic High School on the refurbished Ivanhoe Estate. This is in addition to a new aged care facility, two child care centres, new green open space and community sports centres that will also be delivered at Ivanhoe. This estate which is backed by Mission Australia, will provide for over a thousand social and affordable housing and it will be mixed with private housing so as to avoid stigmatisation. It is something we can all be proud of as it will provide a real opportunity to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage.
- Rebuilding Marsden High School and Meadowbank Primary School at the new Meadowbank Education Precinct. Both schools will double in capacity, essentially becoming 2 Marsden Highs and 2 Meadowbank Publics. The current Meadowbank Primary site will be opened for green open space, while the current Marsden site will be transformed into a $30 million community indoor netball facility. The current netball site at Meadowbank Park will remain community open space.
- Rebuilding Kent Road Public with more air-conditioned classrooms and an upgrade of core facilities. This is currently under construction.
- Re-opening Macquarie Boys High and transforming it into a K-12 Education Precinct.
- More air-conditioned classrooms and a new pool at Denistone East Public.
- More air-conditioned classrooms at West Ryde Public and an upgrade of core facilities.
- More air-conditioned classrooms at Eastwood Public and an upgrade of core facilities.
- Wiping all school maintenance backlogs to zero by 2020, clearing the $1 billion maintenance backlog.
- Ensuring that the PAYCE developers in Melrose Park include a new high school on site, with exploration for either a new primary school or expansion of the existing Melrose Park Primary School.
- $154 major upgrade to Meadowbank TAFE. An historic level of investment to make Meadowbank a Nation leading TAFE. We’re also investing heavily in VET Education, through 700,000 fee-free courses over 4 years.
- We also recently announced an extra 4600 public school teachers across NSW.
Deliver improved transport infrastructure
In early May we are opening the world-class North West Metro, the first of its kind in Australia. The metro will operate as a ‘turn up and go’ service, with trains every 4 minutes during peak hours. Platform screen doors along the full length of the station platforms will improve the safety of passengers, and keep people and objects like prams away from the tracks.
In conjunction with the Federal Government, the NSW Liberal Government is committed to delivering the $100 million Herring Road bus interchange, to ease traffic congestion and make the Macquarie Park precinct more pedestrian-friendly.
On Friday we also announced that we will be widening Victoria Road around the railway bridge in West Ryde to ease traffic congestion, whilst also building a new commuter carpark, with a potential location identified behind West Ryde Pumping Station. The road widening will include a pedestrian access bridge across Victoria Road, allowing commuters to access West Ryde station.
8. AFTER SCHOOL CARE: There is an increasing demand for before and after school care at Primary Schools in the area. Do you have plans to improve this given many of the current options are full, turning families away and have wait lists in place?
Before and after school care will be made available to all parents with children at public primary schools by 2021 under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.
We will invest $120 million to dramatically expand before and after school care, providing working families more access to affordable, convenient and flexible services.
Under the new policy, public primary schools will be required to open their playgrounds, halls or classrooms for before and after school care and school holiday care from 7am to 6pm to make life easier for families. Before and after school care services are available to primary school aged children.
For smaller or remote schools where onsite services may not be an option, the NSW Government will provide transportation for students to and from offsite providers or to locations at other schools so that the communities in that region or area can be fully serviced.
We will also reduce the cost of before and after school care by up to $225 per child per year, through a capped rental subsidy of up to $15,000 for providers who use school grounds to provide services.
The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government has also established a $20 million fund for grants to expand existing before and after school care services, and establish new services across NSW. Our goal is to create an additional 45,000 out of school care places. NSW schools, local councils and not-for-profit out of school care providers may apply for grants under this fund. If you know of an after school care provider that would like to apply, please give my office a ring on 9808 3288 or send us an email at email@example.com, and we will assist them with this process.
Additionally, the NSW Liberal Government is spending $6 billion on new and upgraded schools across the state. These new facilities and amenities are providing more capacity for more after school care services throughout Ryde.
9. 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?
More than 14,000 extra weekly bus services will be delivered under a NSW Liberal Government over the next four years to improve services across Sydney, the Illawarra, Hunter and Central Coast. In particular, the 501 service from West Ryde to Pyrmont will have increased shoulder and off peak services on weekdays as well as extra services on the weekend, and the 611 service from Blacktown to Macquarie Park will have increased shoulder peak services on weekdays as well as extra services on the weekend.
10. 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?
The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government has adopted a four-point plan to improve the certification industry, including:
- Auditing 25-30% of the Certification industry every year in a strike-force style approach.
- Immediately kicking out all certifiers from the industry that are found to have acted negligently signing off on a building.
- Enhancing the ‘name and shame’ register to ensure prospective buyers and homeowners are able to access the disciplinary record of the building’s certifiers.
- Banning certifiers from working on new strata developments if they have breached the code of conduct in any way in the previous 12 months.
The NSW Government will also appoint a Building Commissioner to act as the consolidated building regulator in NSW. We are also clarifying the law to ensure that there is an industry-wide duty of care to homeowners and owners corporations so that they have a right to compensation where a building practitioner has been negligent.
11. 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?
The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government has an ambition for net zero emissions by 2050. This is to ensure our energy security is maintained, and ease the transition for everyday families. Labor’s policy is a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. Labor’s transition would be rapid, putting our energy security at risk and driving up power bills.
The NSW Liberals will support the installation of up to 300,000 solar-battery and battery systems, with no upfront costs via interest-free loans. It is estimated that a family with a $500 quarterly electricity bill could save up to $285 a year on their bills while repaying the no interest loan. These savings could increase to more than $2,000 a year once the loan is fully repaid.
Although Labor proposes to provide subsidies for solar panels, this scheme requires expensive upfront costs, which will price many lower income households out of the scheme. It also does not include batteries which will harm our energy security and introduce greater instability into the electricity grid. Labor’s scheme will cost taxpayers over $1 billion – only helping those who can afford upfront payments while everyone in NSW pays for it.
We also have the five million trees initiative which aims to add five million trees to Greater Sydney’s tree canopy by 2030. Every 10 per cent increase in tree canopy cover can reduce land surface temperatures by 1.13°C.
Locally, the Return and Earn scheme has been incredibly successful in Ryde, with the Marsfield and North Ryde stations recycling 11.7 million plastic bottles since their introduction. On Clean Up Australia Day earlier this month I noticed a visible reduction in the number of bottles littering the foreshore in Meadowbank – this is an initiative I’d like to expand in Ryde, with more recycling stations at accessible locations.
Additional Questions for Victor Dominello
What are your plans for the Peter Board site at North Ryde and when will we see them come to fruition? Please include a basic timeline or expected open date and whether it is for primary and high school.
In 1998 Peter Board was closed by the previous Labor Government, then sold to developers. We are currently in negotiations with the current owner of the site to complete acquisition. It is anticipated these negotiations will be finalised this year, planning completed next year and then a 2-year build. The build will be for a High School and a Primary School.
The Daily Telegraph reported in 2017 that “Marsden High has the biggest backlog of works of any school in Sydney. The West Ryde school, which has $2.8 million in works due, has been allocated just $118,436 to fix it”. What improvements have been made to the school since then and will the current students be disadvantaged by halting maintenance while the new school is built?
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has recently invested a further $449 million to clear every maintenance job currently outstanding at the State’s 2200 public schools. When we came to Government, we inherited a $1 billion school maintenance backlog and by next year – that figure will be zero.
We are making the largest investment into public school infrastructure by any State government in Australian history. Under this Government, Marsden will be transformed to a brand-new state-of-the-art campus, doubling capacity, and West Ryde Public School will receive 14 new air-conditioned classrooms, upgraded core facilities and play-areas. Maintenance has continued at Marsden with works conducted on roofing, flooring and painting during the 2017/2018 financial year.