Sep 15, 2016

Constituency statement – WestConnex

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:35): I rise today to express my ongoing concern about the lack of appropriate planning around the WestConnex project. This is having a considerable impact on people’s lives as a result of the uncertainty which is occurring around this project. The Premier held a press conference in Rozelle on 21 July to announce amended plans, including a tunnel connecting the Iron Cove Bridge and the Rozelle interchange of the project, which is to be located in the Rozelle goods yard.

This means that 27 properties on Victoria Road will be compulsorily acquired to allow for this tunnel to be constructed. That means that these residents deserve proper and appropriate compensation. The state government has a report that shows that its current compensation mechanisms are inadequate, and it has refused to make that report public. People will accept the fact that infrastructure does result in disruption, but that disruption should be minimised and, when it occurs to families, they deserve appropriate consultation.

It is also important that the impact on open space be minimised. That is why I have raised before in this House the potential impact on Blackmore Oval in Leichardt and suggested that this oval needs protection, as do the more than 75 specialist businesses that comprise a big part of the Australian film industry infrastructure around the Canal Road Film Centre.

It is not surprising that these changes have occurred given that there seems to be a dismissal of the legitimate concerns that residents have. Indeed, it is of great concern that the chair of the Greater Sydney Commission, Lucy Turnbull, stated to ABC radio:

I am not aware that there are houses going to be demolished in Haberfield.

She went on to say:

I’m not aware of the loss of heritage at Haberfield, I have to tell you.

Anyone who drives through that part of Sydney will see not just that homes have been demolished but that entire blocks have been demolished.

The fact that the chair of the Greater Sydney Commission had no idea of the impact that was occurring was rubbing salt into the wounds of that community. That community deserves to be treated with respect, and we deserve proper consultation and proper community impact statements. Indeed, the government during the election campaign played politics with the EIS process, pretending somehow that it was the responsibility of the opposition to approve that during the caretaker period.