Meet Judy Hannan, Minister for the Picton Bypass

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Judy Hannan has been the independent member for Wollondilly since March 25, but fellow MPs are already calling her the Minister for the Picton Bypass.

It started when the Labor treasurer sent around his bureaucrats to ask what each MP wanted in the budget.

“I said the Picton Bypass, so we’ll see because so far it’s been Monopoly money,’’ Ms Hannan tells the South West Voice in her Tahmoor office earlier this month.

“It’s the major thing that I want to see – I told them we need to turn dirt before this term of government is over.’’

As a long time local resident, and in contrast to her predecessor, Ms Hannan doesn’t need a Google search to find out what are the pressing needs of the Wollondilly Shire.

That is why she’s not wasting any time now that she has won a four year term as an independent – after running second in the 2019 NSW state election.

Which brings us to the March 25, 2023 election and how she managed to snatch such an unlikely victory from the major parties.

“I didn’t think you were going to win,’’ I say to her, and Ms Hannan quickly responds with “neither did I’’.

“My job was to make sure the promises came in thick and fast from the major parties,’’ she says,

“I wanted to make sure we got as much for our community out of an election as possible.

“A lot of people said there were two votes in the area, some were happy with what they had, and a lot couldn’t stand what they had, so at the end the vote of the unhappy outstripped the vote of the happy.’’

The government is due to release the proposed flight paths any day now and most people expect this will put the focus on whether a curfew should be imposed on the operation of Western Sydney International Airport.

But Judy Hannan believes that as far as her Wollondilly constituents are concerned there are more pressing issues related to the airport, which is due to open in 2026.

“People in the Wollondilly electorate are getting none of the opportunity from the airport, but getting all the fallout,’’ she says.

Her current focus therefore is on two other issues of concern related to the new airport.

One is a NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and the second a Special Conservation Zone, both established by the former Liberal Government.

“These two things are much more pressing than the flight paths or the curfew,’’ she says.

“Overnight there was a SEPP introduced that stopped people within a 38 kilometre radius from the airport site having the ability to build a second dwelling or a granny flat on their land.

“Some people live on 40 acres, and they used to be able to build two houses, or a house and a granny flat, but they cannot anymore.

“The other big issue for my electorate is a Special Conservation Zone that has been whipped all over Wollondilly, even up to Wilton,’’ Ms Hannan said.

“The State Government are using that as an offset for the aerotropolis.

“So they’re using us, private land, for their offsets and people don’t even know it until they go and put in a DA to do something [on their land]; they don’t even know they’re been used.’’

While there are battles to be fought over the next four years, Ms Hannan says her first three months as the Independent Member for Wollondilly have been a positive experience.

“Most of the positivity comes from my staff, who are all local,’’ she says.

“I’ve got a great team: I have someone on the front desk who nearly knows everybody, a marketing person that looks after the office, a political advisor who’s been involved in parliament before, and staff who come from Bowral, Oakdale and Warragamba, so we cover the whole electorate.

“And they all have adopted the mantra that the office belongs the people and made it a welcoming place for all.’’

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