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Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull argue with David Elliott over design plans for Sydney’s Greater West

Angry western Sydney residents have hit out at Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull for declaring the area needs to be more like the city’s east, with the couple branded ‘patronising and ignorant’.

Lucy Turnbull, supported by her husband and Liberal ex-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, told the Sydney Morning Herald the western suburbs should be redesigned to be more ‘green’ and ‘walkable’ like the eastern suburbs.

Mrs Turnbull, who is the former City of Sydney Lord Mayor, said the west needed to create more housing, walkability to schools and shops, and more tree cover.

‘I’d really like the same amenity as you get in the inner city of the eastern harbour city to be adaptively transferred to western Sydney,’ Mrs Turnbull said.

Former Lord Mayor of Sydney Lucy Turnbull (right, pictured with husband and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) has defended her ‘patronising’ plans to eastern-ise western Sydney suburbs, despite criticism the plan ‘undermines’ the west’s existing potential

Mrs Turnbull, who lives with her husband in a harbourside mansion in the exclusive eastern suburb of Point Piper, said the addition of medium-density housing such as terrace homes and more green spaces could help beautify western suburbs.

‘If you think about terrace houses in Paddington and Glebe, they were conceived and built long before there were planning regulations but they are some of the most attractive, valuable property in Australia,’ she said.

Terrace homes in Paddington and Glebe regularly sell for more than $2million. 

‘Proud westie’ and NSW MP for Baulkham Hills David Elliott has slammed the couple’s plans as ‘patronising and ignorant’, arguing that Sydney’s west is called ‘greater for a reason’ and was more liveable than the city’s east.

Mrs Turnbull called for more terrace homes (pictured, a Paddington terrace home) to be built in the western suburbs because they are 'some of the most attractive, valuable property in Australia'

Mrs Turnbull called for more terrace homes (pictured, a Paddington terrace home) to be built in the western suburbs because they are ‘some of the most attractive, valuable property in Australia’

‘You can imagine my horror at the patronising commentary in the Herald today from a former Liberal Leader who is saying he wants to make western Sydney “as liveable as the east”,’ he said on Facebook.

‘Newsflash Malcolm, western Sydney is MORE liveable than your beloved ‘East’!’

While the ‘attractive’ homes in the city’s east are sought-after, they have been criticised for wasting important land space in highly-populated areas where housing is limited. 

Mr Turnbull called for transport policymakers to remember Sydney’s CBD is ‘on the eastern perimeter of the city, not central’ and not to pool amenities just into those suburbs.

New South Wales Minister for Transport and MP for Baulkham Hills David Elliott slammed Mrs Turnbull's plans as 'patronising' and said he had a 'giggle' at Mr Turnbull's claims public transport funding is concentrated in eastern Sydney

New South Wales Minister for Transport and MP for Baulkham Hills David Elliott slammed Mrs Turnbull’s plans as ‘patronising’ and said he had a ‘giggle’ at Mr Turnbull’s claims public transport funding is concentrated in eastern Sydney

In particular he said western Sydney’s transport needs to allow commuters to travel across the city, not just into the CBD.

However, Mr Elliott was quick to respond to the article with a post detailing why western Sydney was already a more livable place than the eastern suburbs. 

‘You call for a more “leafy” environment? Well, western Sydney is surrounded by three National Parks, how many do you have over there in Potts Point? 

‘You want it to be “pedestrian friendly”? I suggest you visit my neighbourhood where the many footpaths are twice as wide as those you find around Vaucluse.

Mr Elliott said western Sydney is 'more liveable' than eastern suburbs and already has large green spaces and is 'pedestrian friendly' (pictured, Parramatta)

Mr Elliott said western Sydney is ‘more liveable’ than eastern suburbs and already has large green spaces and is ‘pedestrian friendly’ (pictured, Parramatta)

‘You may like to wander around Parramatta Park if you really like walking. Fun fact, Parramatta Park was gazetted in 1858, making it 30 years older than and twice the size of your beloved Centennial Park.’

As Minister of Transport, Mr Elliott had particular criticism for the Turnbulls’ opinion of western public transport.

‘I did get a giggle when I saw your call for transport policymakers to remember that the Sydney CBD is “the eastern perimeter city”,’ he said.

‘Well, as the state’s chief transport policymaker I can reassure the former PM that we are not “drawing everything into the eastern harbour city”. 

Mr Elliott said there was more 'greenery' in western Sydney (pictured, Parramatta Lake) than the eastern suburbs and called for the Turnbulls to 'visit my neighbourhood'

Mr Elliott said there was more ‘greenery’ in western Sydney (pictured, Parramatta Lake) than the eastern suburbs and called for the Turnbulls to ‘visit my neighbourhood’

‘A quick look at Parramatta Light Rail, Northconnex, Metro West and Badgerys Creek is proof enough of that. 

‘Once again we have well-meaning media outlets and politicians trying to tell western Sydney residents how “great” we can be if we would only just listen, not realising that we’re called “Greater’ Western Sydney for a reason!’

Commenters on Mr Elliott’s post also slammed the Turnbulls’ vision for the city’s west.

‘Western Sydney illustrates everything that is great about Australia,’ one person wrote. 

The Light Rail design (above) surrounds the tracks with green areas with Mr Elliott noting western Sydney already has a 'leafy environment'

The Light Rail design (above) surrounds the tracks with green areas with Mr Elliott noting western Sydney already has a ‘leafy environment’

‘People from diverse backgrounds, creating a cultural richness that you would never experience in more insular places like “The Shire” or eastern suburbs, and our food is way better!’ 

‘Thank you from a Greater Western Sydney resident with wide shared paths all around me, a few playgrounds within easy walking distance, trees all around me, solar panels on my roof, recycled water and I still have access to great transport,’ another said.

A spokesperson from the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils said existing issues in western suburbs need to be addressed before the region is beautified.

‘While the western Suburbs of Sydney offer many wonderful attractions there are significant challenges impacting the people of western Sydney, too,’ they said.

Mr Elliott said projects like the Parramatta Light Rail (above), Northconnex and Western Sydney Metro prove NSW Transport is focused on western suburbs

‘The former Turnbull government’s part-funding of the St Marys to Airport rail link in fact does very little in spreading transport infrastructure across the city. It really just connects the airport to the western rail line.

‘Urban heat is a pressing problem. During severe heat waves, people in Greater western Sydney have experienced as much as a 13 percent increase in deaths.

‘People in Sydney’s western suburbs are dying because authorities don’t take heat waves as seriously as other natural hazards. 

‘WSROC is calling for an urgent review of heatwave planning with the release of our ‘Heat Smart Resilience Framework’ that outlines recommendations for building resilience to extreme heat.’

Mrs Turnbull briefly addressed urban heat during her interview and called for eastern-suburb-style tree coverage to be brought to western suburbs to create more shade. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull for comment. 

WESTERN TRANSPORT PROJECTS 

WESTERN SYDNEY METRO PROJECT

The proposed Western Sydney Metro will see a new metro line built starting at St Marys through to Orchard Hills, Luddenham and the new Western Sydney International Nancy-Bird Walton Airport and Aerotropolis.

Construction of the new metro line began in 2020. 

Construction of the new international airport is set to begin in 2026. 

PARRAMATTA LIGHT RAIL

Stage one of the Parramatta Light Rail line will begin in Westmead and run through to Parramatta North and CBD, Camellia and end in Carlingford.

The stage one line is set to open in 2023. 

The stage two line is currently planned to connect suburbs from Camellia through to Sydney Olympic Park.

NORTHCONNEX

The Northconnex is a nine-kilometre long tunnel connecting the M1 and M2 Motorways to help better travel throughout Greater Sydney.

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