Hero in them thar hills (Inner West Courier)

LEICHHARDT mayor Jamie Parker 's opposition to the CBD Metro and call for the State Government to focus on heavy rail links to Sydney's northwest is turning him into the hero of the Hills Shire.

Cr Parker met Liberal Hills mayor Peter Dimbrowsky last week to discuss ways to oppose the government's transport plans as part of a new political alliance Cr Dimbrowsky calls Mayors against the Metro.

The Hills Shire Times splashed the story across its cover, giving Cr Parker his second front page in the district in less than six months. The first one called for him to become premier.

Cr Parker said the government's failures were encouraging traditional opponents to unite.

"The issue is bigger than politics,'' Cr Parker said. ``This is about the public transport future for Sydney.''

He said the government had let northwest residents down by failing to provide adequate transport links.

"People built out there expecting a train station and they just dumped it,'' Cr Parker said.

This new political love- in isn't all one-way traffic, though. Cr Dimbrowsky has called on the government to extend the system from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.

"The extension would solve inner city problems, allow $4 billion for the northwest metro, leave enough money to build the Chatswood to Parramatta line and you would still have enough change left over to put in additional bus services and dedicated bus lanes,'' he said.

Not many mayors would win votes by campaigning against a new public transport system for their municipality, but the unpopularity of the metro, which even local Labor councillors have now abandoned, has meant Cr Parker has faced little backlash.

He said locals applauded his efforts because they realised better rail links would lead to fewer cars on local streets.

Leichhardt Labor Cr Darcy Byrne was less impressed. He accused Cr Parker of ``cynicism and political opportunism of the highest order'' for tying up to the Liberals. ``I am appalled that Cr Parker has jumped into bed with the NSW Liberal Party who are the extreme right of Australian politics,'' Cr Byrne said.

Delegates back trams

Light rail in the CBD loop and Lilyfield extension to Dulwich Hill should be ``immediately undertaken'' by the State Government, the Local Government Association conference in Tamworth has heard. The motion by Leichhardt Council recommended that the Lilyfield extension should include a loop to White Bay.

- Inner West Courier (October 29, 2009). Note: Online version of article to link to could not be found.

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