RESIDENTS are now occupying the NSW Department of Planning and Environment offices at 23-33 Bridge St Sydney in protest at the corruption of the planning processes surrounding the $16.8 billion WestCONnex toll road, and to call for a public inquiry into the project.
The protest follows an earlier demonstration at the annual general meeting of WestCONnex contractor CIMIC (formerly known as Leighton Holdings), which stands accused of using corruption to win billion-dollar construction contracts overseas.
“At every step, the Baird Government has ignored residents who tried to engage in WestCONnex’s so-called ‘consultation’ process,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Rick Williams.
“Over 17,500 submissions objecting to WestCONnex have been sent to the Planning Department. But these have been brushed aside with total contempt for residents and the taxpayers who are funding this farce.
“The WestCONnex planning process is riddled with conflict of interest. For example, AECOM wrote environmental impact statements for the project, yet it holds contracts to deliver parts of WestCONnex. How can this possibly be independent?
“Two of WestCONnex’s major contractors, Leighton and Samsung, now stand accused of using corruption to win government contracts overseas – which is shocking given they’ve been awarded multi-billion contracts by the Baird Government to build WestCONnex.
“Meanwhile, independent experts are lining up to say WestCONnex will be a massive financial failure – one that’ll sentence western Sydney drivers to decades of high tolls and traffic jams.
“That’s why we’ve been left with no choice but to take this action to stop WestCONnex before the tollway destroys so much of our great city and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars.
“The people of Sydney deserve better, which is why we’ve demanding a public inquiry and a halt to WestCONnex while it takes place.”
Media contacts: Rick Williams 0411 453 740, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106