As families near WestConnex construction sites take their young children to start the 2019 school year, they are confronting evidence that the Berejiklian government has lied to them about the threat posed by one of the most deadly forms of air pollution, PM 2.5.
A report compiled using the NSW government’s own figures – collected by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and WestConnex monitors – shows extraordinary levels of exposure to PM 2.5. This is a form of pollution known to cause heart disease, strokes and respiratory illness and, in Sydney alone, is responsible for 520 premature deaths each year according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority.Read more
It’s certainly been a challenging 2018 for those of us committed to fighting the toxic toll road known as WestConnex. We have made our voices heard reporting as many of the WestConnex breaches of the law as possible and, in October 2018, WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) gave evidence to the NSW Upper House Parliamentary Inquiry into the Impacts of the WestCONnex Project.
But 2019 will be even busier.
As well as pressuring politicians for a Royal Commission into WestCONnex (and don't forget the NSW state election is on 23 March), WAG will be setting up a register of WestCONnex property damage, continuing to support the citizen scientists' air quality monitoring project, and be holding WestCONnex and its contractors to account over breaches.Read more
“This is your chance to have your voice heard.”
The NSW Liberals have done everything possible to hide the truth about WestCONnex. But now there’s an opportunity to shine a light on this devastating project. A NSW Upper House parliamentary inquiry into the impacts of WestCONnex is taking submissions until 31 August 2018 and will start three days of hearings on 9 October.
The inquiry will investigate the WestCONnex business case, the project’s costs, its governance, and whether it’s actually a good investment for NSW taxpayers. (The full terms of reference are at the end of this post.)
This is your chance to have your voice heard. You can make an individual submission or contact WestCONnex Action Group to have your experience included as part of a submission from us or another community group, depending on the issue.
What sorts of matters can be raised? Everything from the St Peters stench to construction noise and cracked houses, health impacts, dodgy amelioration decisions and the destruction of trees and green spaces. And that’s only the start.Read more
“If it had not been for community and the media’s exposure of WestConnex’s dodgy planning processes, these terrible sites would’ve been steamrolled through.” – Catherine Gemmell, Coalition Against WestConnex
The Coalition Against WestConnex (CAW) is delighted that the chosen contractor for the WestConnex M4-M5 Link tunnel has abandoned the Darley Rd Dan Murphys site in Leichhardt and the Muirs site in Parramatta Road Haberfield as tunnelling dive sites for Stage 3 WestConnex.
“This is a huge win for community groups who’ve campaigned tirelessly against these tunnelling sites,” said Catherine Gemmell, CAW spokesperson and member of Leichhardt Against WestConnex community group.Read more
Last month the Department of Planning and Environment approved Stage three of the WestConnex, the M4-M5 link, for which there is still no actual engineering design, only a concept plan. With this approval it released a series of independent peer reviews, which were hardly complimentary of the way in which transport, air quality and groundwater impacts etc. had been assessed in the project’s environmental impact statement (see our previous blog). Despite the criticism the road has still received a green light from the Department ... an incredibly frustrating situation.
On 17 April 2018, the NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts approved Stage 3 of WestConnex – the biggest, most expensive transport infrastructure project in the history of Australia.
But it was not until 10 days later, on Friday 27 April, that this approval was made public, with a quiet upload to a government website. Even then, the planning minister, Anthony Roberts, was unavailable for media interviews.
WAG can understand why the Gladys Berejiklian government doesn’t want to front the public to explain its absurd approval of this massive project. As yet, there is no actual engineering plan for Stage 3, just a concept design. And there are persistent doubts that the proposed underground Rozelle Interchange, a crucial part of Stage 3 of WestConnex, can even be built without massive additional cost to the taxpayer.
But that’s not even the worst bit. As we have always argued, WestConnex will not fix the traffic snarls and will make local traffic flows much worse. Air pollution will get worse at schools and childcare centres including Sydney Park Childcare, The Infants Home in Ashfield, St Peters Public School, Erskineville Public School, Camdenville Public School – the list goes on.
Yet the Berejiklian government approved it anyway, ignoring the advice of experts, and putting the health of children at risk. The peer reviews attached to Roberts' approval spell out some of the failings of the WestConnex project.
In February, NSW Planning published Westconnex's Response to 13,000 submissions objecting to or raising concerns about the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Stage 3. The response not only failed to answer the community's concerns, it also snubbed the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EIS) which had expressed strong concerns as well. In our second post on the report, we analyse noise impacts.
You can find our first response on air quality here.
On February 5th, NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) published a Response to 13,000 submissions objecting to or raising concerns about the Environmental Impact Statement ( EIS) for Stage 3 WestConnex. This post aims to provide our supporters with some impressions of what we have found in the thousands of pages of report so far. Our first report focuses on some air quality concerns
WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) today called on the Government to halt the sale of WestConnex and make all business case documents for planned tollways in Sydney public
Stop Westconnex campaigners today occupied the NSW Department of Planning and Environment building in Pitt Street, Sydney, calling on the Department to reject the Environmental Impact Statement for Stage 3 of the Westconnex tollway network.
Stage 3 WestCONnex consists of twin tunnels between St Peters and Haberfield and Rozelle, several massive construction sites and a huge three level interchange at Rozelle.