WESTCONNEX contractors were forced to abandon construction works in Sydney Park twice this morning after failing to produce any authorisation for the work when asked by residents.
The residents, who were among hundreds who attended today’s Breakfast Before Bulldozers protest at the Save Sydney Park camp, had been informed that the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has not acquired all the parkland it needs for WestCONnex from City of Sydney.
“They haven’t finished the compulsory acquisition process,” Clr Linda Scott told the crowd, urging residents to ask “each and every time for proof that they own this public land” if confronted by WestCONnex contractors.
“Not long afterwards, two RMS staff arrived at the Save Sydney Park camp and told residents they intended to start surveying works on the site,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Pauline Lockie.
“This would have been the beginning of the end for hundreds of trees in Sydney Park, as well as vital green spaces enjoyed by thousands of people.
“But when we asked them to produce paperwork proving they owned the land and had the right to conduct these WestCONnex works, they were unable to do so – yet insisted they wanted to go ahead anyway.
“The residents, who were polite but firm, made it clear we weren’t going to let any work proceed without proper authorisation. With so many witnesses and media present, WestCONnex contractors had no choice but to leave.
“Soon afterwards, we found out WestCONnex contractors had started work at the other end of Sydney Park. So again, residents asked them to produce the necessary paperwork. Unable to do so, the contractors quickly packed up and left,” said Ms Lockie.
This isn’t the first time the Baird government has tried to conduct WestCONnex works without proper authorisation, Ms Lockie said.
“WestCONnex contractors started fencing off parts of Sydney Park last September, when they planned to clear over 160 trees, including many on City of Sydney land. Instead, thanks to the residents who camped there 24/7 to keep watch over these works, WestCONnex contractors destroyed just two trees,” said Ms Lockie.
“While today’s successes represent another win in the fight against WestCONnex, it is disgraceful that residents are being forced to police the Baird government around the clock – especially when the destructive WestCONnex will fail to ease traffic congestion, and slug families in western Sydney with tolls of up to $25 a day.
“Today proved yet again that residents are prepared to stand up to WestCONnex, and we stand ready to ramp up the fight against Mike Baird’s wasteful tollway,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contacts: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Rhea Liebmann 0410 517 343