DRILLING works for the WestCONnex New M5 toll road were stopped yesterday after residents occupied the planned construction site in Terry Street Tempe.
“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.
“Only last month, Marrickville Council revoked approval for WestCONnex drilling on council land after residents conducting a peaceful protest on Tempe Reserve were threatened with arrest.
“But at 7am yesterday, WestCONnex contractors were banging on people’s doors in Tempe to tell residents to move their cars so drilling for the New M5 tunnel could take place outside their homes.
“They 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.
“Residents responded by peacefully occupying the planned drill site and refusing to allow WestCONnex contractors to set up barriers for their drilling rig.
“After several hours, WestCONnex contractors brought in larger barriers and built them around residents – who were then threatened with arrest for trespassing on enclosed lands!
“These works are rushing ahead at the same time the Baird Government has failed to publish a single one of the 13,000-plus submissions it received to the WestCONnex New M5 environmental impact statement (EIS), let alone responded to any of them.
“Instead of taking these well-informed objections seriously, the Baird Government is ignoring the community and its own planning processes as it rushes to build this $16.8 billion sham.
“But we are not going to stand aside while Premier Baird treats us with contempt and destroys our city for WestCONnex – a toll road that will send drivers from western Sydney straight into an inner-city traffic jam.
“Community anger is now so high that residents will be back at the site today. And peaceful direct action will continue as long as WestCONnex contractors try to charge ahead without planning approval.”
Media contacts: Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676, Colin Charlton 0412 924 251