WESTCONNEX Action Group (WAG) has called for a full inquiry into WestCONnex’s forced acquisitions following revelations that the Baird government has deliberately hidden a damning report into the process.
The report, which was handed to the government by David Russell SC in Febuary 2014, was suppressed after Premier Mike Baird was advised that its reforms – which aimed to make the process fairer to property owners – would add “costs and delay” to infrastructure projects.
“It is disgraceful that Mike Baird has forged ahead with taking people’s homes and businesses for WestCONnex when he knew the acquisition process was unfair and needed urgent reform,” said WAG spokesperson Janet Dandy-Ward.
“Now everything he’s said about making the process ‘generous and caring’ has been exposed as the worst kind of hypocrisy.
“Hundreds of residents have been forced out of their communities for this tollway, which experts say will make Sydney’s traffic worse. Many are still suffering huge emotional damage and serious financial hardship.
“Some families have been forced to risk huge sums of money going to court to get the compensation they’re legally entitled to. Others have been forced to pay rent to the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to stay in their own homes.
“All along, Baird has tried to fool the public by saying that he cared, when he was actually burying the truth so he could bulldoze WestCONnex through.
“This is just the latest in a string of scandals that have plagued WestCONnex, and shown the depths to which the Baird government will sink to build this disastrous tollway.
“We call for the immediate release of this report, a full and independent inquiry into WestCONnex’s forced acquisitions, and for owners who’ve been disadvantaged by this process to be fairly compensated,” said Ms Dandy-Ward.
Media contacts: Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106