Why the member for Leppington says 2023 was a cracking year

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Nathan Hagarty happily agrees that 2023 was a great year for him. “It has been a hell of a year, my biggest year, yep,’’ he tells the South West Voice when we sit down for a chat in his Leppington electorate office.

“I was elected, made whip, my son’s team won their soccer comp and my daughter was named school captain,’’ he says.

A year ago to the day, on March 25, 2023, Hagarty comfortably won the new seat of Leppington at the NSW state election.

And before he could get comfortable in his NSW Parliament office, the young Labor star was given a second office by Premier Chris Minns.

He also got a whip, a real whip.

That was because the member for Leppington was made what they call the Government Whip.

His job involves organising and rallying the “troops’’ when parliament is sitting.

“It’s a good, big position, big responsibility, but I have plenty of support around me and I am enjoying it,’’ he says.

It’s true that with Labor a minority government, the whip’s job is currently more important than ever.

Hagarty finished his 12 months as an MP by delivering a withering attack on Liberal-run Liverpool Council over nepotism so, as they say, never a dull moment.

More on the nepotism speech later, because it’s important to focus on and emphasise that the member for Leppington has got his finger on the pulse when it comes to South Western Sydney.

More than that, he knows what’s needed – from a direct rail link to the new airport to a hospital in the aerotropolis – and is prepared to lead the fight to have it delivered.

“My vision for this electorate is that once the airport and aerotropolis are up and running it’s the go to suburb, the inner ring suburb that supplies the work, the students and customers to the area around the airport,’’ says Hagarty.

“Key is connectivity, and we’re doing the business case for extending the railway from Leppington, a big priority for me.

“Then there’s $300 million for rapid buses to the airport, that’s a big one, and upgrading the roads, Fifteenth Avenue, we’ve got money for that as well.

“But the key thing is that people can have good amenity here and 10-15 minutes down the road to the airport they’ve got Sydney’s newest city.’’

Mr Hagarty in his Leppington office, and, top, the whip’s office. Pictures by SOUTH WEST VOICE PHOTOGRAPHY.

From his Leppington Village first floor office, Hagarty and his electorate staff enjoy bucolic views mixed with strong evidence that urbanisation is marching closer to what used to be good cattle and farming country.

The office is barely more than one kilometre from Leppington railway station, a 10-minute walk.

“We need to get footpaths put in, roads upgraded to help people get to the M7, the M5, the Hume Highway,’’ he says.

“There’s massive demand for more bus routes and services, but one of the constraints is the quality of roads.

“A lot of this stuff is a chicken and egg problem just like in housing where we need more housing< but Sydney Water doesn’t have the capacity.

“But that’s why we are funding the big treatment plant at Kemps Creek to allow for more housing – complex problems require complex solutions,’’ says the member for Leppington, who really ought to be the Minister for South Western Sydney.

“People in places like Austral need a car to get to shops and schools because footpaths don’t connect.’’

Hagarty resigned from Liverpool Council as soon as he realised that being a Government Whip would leave him with little spare time.

The member for Leppington delivering his maiden speech last year.

But it hasn’t stopped him from receiving messages that involve complaints about Liverpool Council.

So last Thursday, at almost 11pm, he rose and poured a big bucket on the council leadership.

“Late last year The Australian reported on the shocking revelations that no fewer than seven senior staff members on the Liverpool council’s payroll have Liberal affiliations: former Liberal members of Parliament, councillors, staffers and local factional heavyweights, including the CEO, John Ajaka,’’ Hagarty told the House under parliamentary privilege.

“I look forward to the results of the OLG [Office of Local Government] investigation, but I am concerned that what has been reported in the media is just the tip of the iceberg,’’ he said.

“I encourage all those with knowledge of wrongdoing at Liverpool Council to speak up. It is only through the disinfectant of transparency that those issues can be resolved for the good of the people of Liverpool.’’

Last week Mr Hagarty invited the South West Voice take a tour of parliament house, including his two offices.

It wasn’t a sitting day, but just judging from the number of phone calls he answered, it was obvious the member for Leppington has a pretty full plate.

But he smiles and says that he doesn’t mind.

“I try to do as much as I can because you don’t know how long you may be in this place,’’ he adds.

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