HUNDREDS of residents attended the WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) ‘WestCONnex Independence Day’ rally at Goddard Park in Concord on Saturday to oppose the $15.4 billion toll road, which experts say will only worsen Sydney’s traffic pollution and congestion.
Speakers included transport professional Dr Michelle Zeibots, Strathfield MP Jodi McKay and Newtown MP Jenny Leong, as well as WestCONnex Action Group campaigners from across the toll road’s 33km corridor.
Dr Zeibots and Ms Leong drew loud cheers when they declared WestCONnex was not a done deal, condemned the utter lack of transparency surrounding the project, and encouraged residents to keep up the fight against the toll road.
Dr Zeibots said transport professionals involved with the project were “shocked” by the extent to which the Baird Government was ignoring expert advice on WestCONnex, and that the proposals “just didn’t make sense”.
Ms Leong said the full business case must be released for WestCONnex so the public could understand how decisions were being made, and what options had been considered for the $15.4 billion public spend.
Ms McKay’s speech was initially well received when she highlighted many of the project’s flaws, including its budget blowouts and the secrecy around the business case.
However, she drew strong boos from the crowd when she insisted the project was going to go ahead regardless.
“People are outraged that our communities are being destroyed for WestCONnex, even as the Baird Government refuses to release any evidence that this toll road will work,” said WAG spokesperson Amanda Bull, who spoke at the rally.
“We want integrated public transport to get to work, not to be stuck on an expensive toll road that will just need more roads added to it in a few years’ time like the M4 and M5 do now.
“But the processes surrounding this project have been utterly corrupted, so instead we’re getting a toll road that will destroy our communities, sentence generations to diseases caused by unfiltered pollution, and waste $15 billion of public money.
“We saw in Victoria that governments can be forced to listen to voters, and we will continue to fight this sham toll road and demand both major parties start listening to what communities really need.”
Media contact: Garth Montgomery 0408 864 851