Wollondilly Matters with Matthew Deeth: It takes a team to build a great new town

Matthew Deeth- Wollondilly Mayor
Matthew Deeth- Wollondilly Mayor

It has been great that Sport has started back, albeit a tad stop-start, but none the less it is great to see kids and families all out on a Saturday. My little boy is playing football (soccer) for the first time for U6 Douglas Park Wilton Razorbacks. It's been wonderful to watch as blobs of kids follow the ball wherever it is kicked. There's also a lot to learn about tackling, working as a team, what a win looks like and also how the rules work. It's been interesting to see the different reactions to when the referee makes a decision and whether it is accepted and the game moves on. These are lessons that we have all have shared at some point in our lives.

Which brings me to our new town in Wilton and a quick recap.

Back in 2012 the elected Councillors gave in principle support for Wilton as there was a strong strategic argument as long as there was a clear plan for infrastructure and jobs. Fast forward to 2018 and there was still not a clear plan on infrastructure, so Council chose to withdraw that in principle support. The challenge Council was facing was to get all stakeholders to take responsibility for the community and outcomes of what this new town may look like. The slogan "A Great New Town or No Town at All" framed a campaign to help drive this message that Wilton was an opportunity to make a great place to live. The NSW Government in late 2018 decided to rezone Wilton for housing growth, with promises but no clear plan for the transport, schools, health services and other infrastructure the town needs, much to Council's disappointment. DA's have now been approved and housing growth is progressing.

So we are at a cross roads. Do we continue to fight against a past decision that we have no chance of changing? Or do we try and get the best possible outcome for our community by pressing the reset button, partnering with the State Government and State Agencies to collaborate, secure the infrastructure we need and shape the direction for Wilton?

In this current climate of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty, we have to focus on job creation, not job destruction. Over 30% of our Shire is employed in the construction industry. Now more than ever we need to ensure we focus on supporting jobs while maintaining our vision for the Shire and planning for provision of future jobs. We can do this if we work together.

Like in Soccer a referee must make a decision and sometimes the decision is flawed - similar to our planning system. We need to call time, respect the decision, and move on. Ultimately, if we don't our community will be left with the legacy of poor decisions that were made while we were 'sitting on the sidelines'

So the choice is clear. There's no point sitting on the sidelines screaming and yelling. We need to get back in the game and continue to fight hard for the best outcomes for our community which will be a 'win' for everyone.

Matthew Deeth

Wollondilly Mayor