HUNDREDS of residents attended last week’s WestCONnex M4 East ‘community information sessions’ in Ashfield and Concord to express their opposition to the $15.4 billion toll road, which now threatens to destroy hundreds of heritage homes, businesses and communities in the area.
Spokesperson for WestCONnex Action Group Amanda Bull said the high turnout was a damning reflection of the lack of transparency surrounding the project.
“The utterly corrupted planning processes surrounding WestCONnex have seen them charge ahead with issuing compulsory acquisition notices and letting construction contracts without releasing the full business case or conducting any genuine community consultation,” Ms Bull said.
“Residents are furious at being treated with such contempt, so it’s no surprise they turned out in huge numbers to demand answers and insist WestCONnex record their opposition to the project.
“WestCONnex must have been nervous, because security was ludicrously high for a ‘community information session’.
“Residents’ names, addresses and emails were recorded at the Ashfield event, even though the staff member doing so couldn’t tell us why WestCONnex needed all this personal information.
“Journalist Wendy Bacon was escorted from a session when she took photos of empty poker machines, while my husband and I were escorted from one when we refused to leave at 6pm.”
Ms Bull said residents were given information at the sessions that directly contradicted claims made by Roads Minister Duncan Gay and the WestCONnex Delivery Authority (WDA).
“Minister Gay has said emissions from the WestCONnex tunnels and unfiltered poison stacks will be like a ‘weaker shandy’, while the WDA has said the stacks will disperse them high into the air.
“But we were told by WDA experts at the sessions that the Haberfield stack will only be 25 metres high – the same height as the Bunnings clock tower across the road.
“They also admitted emissions would be worse in the vicinity of the poison stacks, and that these emissions would fall even faster in poor weather.
“But the one question no one was prepared to answer was why construction companies had been contracted before the business case and EIS had been released. One expert actually admitted that due democratic process had not been followed!
“The people of NSW deserve better than WestCONnex. And we demand our right to transparency and accountability before billions of our taxpayer dollars are wasted on this sham toll road.”
Media Contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Amanda Bull 0416 052 330