WESTCONNEX Action Group (WAG) welcomed Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese’s call for a Federal audit into WestCONnex today, but said this needed to be matched by a commitment to halt Federal funding of the $16.8 billion toll road to stop taxpayer dollars being wasted.
“We’ve always said WestCONnex has all the hallmarks of a dirty project – no transparency, escalating costs, corrupted planning processes, contracts signed before approvals are granted – so a Federal audit into why so much of our money is being risked on this sham is well overdue,” said WAG spokesperson Pauline Lockie.
“But the reality is such an audit could take up to a year to complete.
“Meanwhile, the Baird Government is gearing up to destroy large parts of our city for this sham toll road within months.
“Even if the Auditor-General began investigating WestCONnex tomorrow, his findings wouldn’t come back in time to stop the widespread destruction of suburbs like Haberfield and St Peters.
“It wouldn’t stop the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frogs at Arncliffe and the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest in Kingsgrove from being wiped out.
“And it wouldn’t stop Premier Baird from wasting billions more of our taxpayer dollars on WestCONnex in his rush to sell western Sydney commuters out to toll road operators.
“The Federal Auditor-General’s recent audit of the doomed East-West Link toll road was scathing. It condemned former Prime Minister Abbott’s decision to commit Federal funding to the project, which would have returned just 45c for every $1 of taxpayer money wasted on it.
“We’d expect him to make similar findings when it comes to WestCONnex, which is bigger, more expensive, and even less transparent than that disastrous project.
“If Prime Minister Turnbull is serious about investing in infrastructure on its merits, he should also be pushing for this audit – and immediately halt Federal funding for WestCONnex until this audit is done.
“And if Anthony Albanese wants to stop our taxpayer dollars being wasted on WestCONnex, he and Bill Shorten should commit any future Labor government to doing the same,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Garth Montgomery 0408 864 851