WESTCONNEX Action Group (WAG) has slammed the Baird Government for allowing gross conflicts of interest around the financing, planning and environmental assessments of the $15 billion toll road, and reiterates its urgent call for a parliamentary inquiry.
“The first contracts were signed for the M4 East a day before residents were told their homes would be demolished and poison stacks put near Haberfield Public School, so any talk about community consultation is a total sham,” said WAG spokesperson Pauline Lockie.
“This comes off the back of media reports that AECOM has been awarded the contract to do the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the M4 East, and is also involved in planning and building the WestCONnex toll road.
“What is the point of an EIS after contracts are signed, and the people with the contracts to build the road are the same people who will conduct the EIS?
“It is concerning that Mike Baird treats our health as merely a process involving a rubber stamp after tenders are awarded, rather than something that will cause significant and irreversible illnesses to generations of people from unfiltered pollution.
“The health of today’s children is in the hands of Mike Baird, who is shaping up to be a Premier whose legacy will be a generation of respiratory diseases.
“It is utterly disgraceful that WDA head Denis Cliche can use weasel words about world’s best practice with poison stacks, when we know their own report says the stacks will be unfiltered because it’s too costly and they sheet blame to the car makers.
“This follows revelations earlier this week that there are conflicts of interest in the WestCONnex planning and financing process - so what does the government do? Merges them!
“We’re now seeing a dangerous subversion of planning processes and consulting processes, as the Government changes the rules as they go to suit themselves and the mates they're awarding contracts to for this $15bn toll road that won’t deliver for Sydney.
“If this isn't considered corruption, it should be. It’s not that laws are being broken, it’s just a bit weird that they didn't have to because they could just change the rules on the spot to protect themselves,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contact: Garth Montgomery 0408 864 851