DRILLING for the WestCONnex New M5 was stopped today following reports that two of the project’s major contractors, Leighton and Samsung, used corrupt practices to secure billion-dollar government contracts overseas.

 Residents protest WestCONnex drilling

Residents occupied the planned construction site in Edith Street, St Peters, for over six hours as contractors overseen by Leighton staff tried to set up a drill rig for the unapproved project. 

“The Baird Government has trampled over people’s basic democratic rights in its rush to start work on the WestCONnex New M5 before any planning approvals are granted,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Janet Dandy-Ward.

“Almost 13,000 objections have been sent in by experts, government agencies and the public to the WestCONnex New M5. Marrickville Council revoked approval for this drilling. And Leighton and Samsung, are embroiled in a global corruption scandal involving government contracts.

“But despite all this, residents in St Peters were told last week that our streets would be shut down for up to two weeks to allow drilling for the unapproved WestCONnex New M5 toll road to go ahead. 

“Residents responded by peacefully occupying one of the planned drill sites, legally parking over the marked areas, and refusing to allow the WestCONnex drill rig to be set up.

“Residents were told the work was allowed under powers granted by the Roads Act. But yet again, WestCONnex contractors were unable to provide any proof they had approval to go ahead. 

“And yet again, WestCONnex contractors built their fencing around residents and called police – who then threatened residents with arrest for entering enclosed lands!

“The Baird Government is ignoring the community and its own planning processes as it rushes to build this $16.8 billion sham with as much secrecy as possible.

“But we are not going to stand aside while Premier Baird destroys our city for WestCONnex, and sentences drivers from western Sydney to decades of high tolls and traffic jams. 

“Community anger is now so high that peaceful direct action against WestCONnex will continue as long as the Baird Government tries to bulldoze this sham project through.”

Media contacts: Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106

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