Today we are exploring the outer-western Sydney seat of Penrith. The incumbent MP is Liberal Minister Stuart Ayres who holds the seat on a margin of 6.2%. The Labor candidate is Karen McKeown.
Incumbent Stuart Ayres MP is once again the Liberal candidate. He is currently the Minster for Western Sydney, Minister for WestConnex and the Minister for Sport. The keystone of the Liberal transport platform in Penrith is the Westconnex motorway project. It is designed to get commuters from Western Sydney into the city in a more timely matter. This has proved contentious, due to the reintroduction of tolls on the M4 motorway to pay for the project. The Liberals have also promised to introduce extra express train services between Penrith and the City, with shorter travel time than under current timetables. Mr Ayres announced he would ensure that Penrith only sees the newest train in the Waratah and New Intercity Fleet. He has also committed to ensuring every station in the electorate is wheelchair accessible and to building a larger carpark at Emu Plains. Additionally, the Liberals will reduce the Opal weekly cap to $50.
Karen McKeown is a local councillor on Penrith Council and will be the Labor Candidate. Labor has promised to bring back the M4 Toll Cashback, essentially refunded tolls for commuters using the M4 who live in the Penrith electorate. Labor has committed to new commuter parking at Emu Plains and Penrith and will invest in making all stations in the seat wheelchair accessible. Labor will also invest $3 billion in signalling upgrades to slash rail travel times and introduce a new, more reliable train timetable. Labor will also make public transport free for all school aged students.
The contentious M4 tolls and Mr Ayres position as Minster for Sports behind the stadium splurge in the Eastern Suburbs is putting the Liberals on edge in Penrith. Will the toll cash back be enough for Labor to win over voters?
Both candidates were approached for comment, but did not respond.