HUNDREDS of people in south-west Sydney attended last Thursday’s WestCONnex ‘community information sessions’ in Kingsgrove to oppose the $15.4 billion toll road.
WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Kathryn Calman said the high turnout reflected rising community anger at the Baird Government over WestCONnex.
“WestCONnex staff were confronted by extremely well-informed residents who know this toll road will destroy our communities, blanket us in pollution, and make traffic congestion worse,” she said.
“And we were given information that directly contradicted Roads Minister Duncan Gay’s claims that WestCONnex’s tunnel emissions will be like a ‘weaker shandy’ that will make our air ‘better’.
“We were told the Kingsgrove stack will spew up to 700 cubic metres of concentrated emissions per second onto our homes, schools, workplaces and sporting fields. Drivers in the WestCONnex tunnels will be exposed to dangerous cancer-causing pollutants.
“We also learned that an advisory committee on tunnel air quality chaired by the NSW Chief Scientist failed to address these issues, and was actually run by the RMS.”
Ms Calman also said residents were shocked to see consultants from AECOM, one of the main private companies to benefit from WestCONnex, dressed in NSW Government uniforms.
“AECOM will be conducting the EISs for the New M5 and M4 East stages of WestCONnex. Yet it also has multi-million dollar contracts for the project, including construction design of the New M5. How can AECOM possibly hand down independent EISs when it has such a conflict of interest?
“It’s clear the Baird Government is doing everything it can avoid transparency and independent oversight when it comes to this $15.4 billion sham.”
Ms Calman’s revelations came on the same day Premier Baird and Minister Gay joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Beverly Hills to launch the King Georges Road Interchange upgrade stage of WestCONnex, which they claimed will halve travel times at the notorious black spot.
“Even according to the government’s own figures, this is rubbish,” said Ms Calman. “Its EIS said travel times at King Georges Road Interchange will get worse after the upgrade, not better.
“Travel times southbound in the AM peak on King Georges Road will rise by 50%. With no public transport solutions to get single-passenger vehicles off the M5, our tradies will stay stuck in traffic.
“If Mike Baird wants to bust congestion he is going the wrong way about it. We demand our right to transparent planning and real solutions before billions of our dollars are wasted on WestCONnex.”
Media Contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Kathryn Calman 0421 181 057