MORE THAN 4,500 submissions objecting to the WestCONnex M4 East environmental impact statement (EIS) were sent in to the Department of Planning & Environment by last night’s midnight deadline.
The huge response came after community groups launched a massive campaign to help members of the public to make submissions to the 5,000 page EIS, which was open to public comment for just 55 days.
“We knew the Baird Government was desperate to avoid any transparency when it came to the M4 East EIS, and when we went through it, we could see why,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Pauline Lockie.
“As well as being riddled with errors, the claims made in the M4 East EIS just didn’t stand up to scrutiny.
“For example, its traffic modelling assumed dedicated bus lanes would be added to Parramatta Rd, even though these aren't part of the project. That’s why the Baird Government claims the WestCONnex M4 East will improve traffic on parts of Parramatta Rd – they’ve used a different, made-up project to come up with these figures.
“This is such a serious flaw that the community can have no confidence in the most critical parts of the EIS that rely on these traffic figures – including the pollution, noise and health impacts people will have to live with if the M4 East tunnel is built.
“No wonder the Baird Government gave the community just 55 days to respond to this EIS, even after hundreds of people called and emailed Planning Minister Rob Stokes to demand more time.
“That’s why we launched such a huge campaign to get the truth about the M4 East EIS out to as many people as possible, and help the public make detailed, well-informed submissions.
“WAG’s online campaign and street stalls alone collected more than 2,200 submissions. These weren’t just ‘form letters’ – there were lots of different versions for people to sign, and many added their own comments about why WestCONnex is the wrong solution for Sydney.
“We also played a key role in gathering and publishing expert submissions for The People’s EIS, a groundbreaking website that made the entire EIS process more democratic and transparent.
“Now thousands more people across Sydney know just how much of a sham the $15.4 billion WestCONnex really is – and why it’d see people from western suburbs pay huge tolls to drive straight into an inner-city traffic jam.
“The massive response to the M4 East EIS shows how determined the community is to fight the $15.4 billion WestCONnex. And we will not stop fighting until the Baird-Turnbull Governments see sense and cancel this wasteful tollway,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106