May 10, 2018

Hansard – Constituency Statement: WestConnex – Thursday, 10 May 2018

Federation Chamber
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:20): I rise again to express concern at the lack of proper planning by the New South Wales government for the WestConnex project. This project has been characterised by bad planning and incompetence, and inferior and sometimes, quite frankly, misleading community consultation processes. Perhaps uniquely, it is a project in which they started building the tunnel without knowing where the tunnels would come up, something that will be studied by governments in future years. The bad planning was exemplified by the New South Wales Supreme Court’s decision last week that the New South Wales state government’s acquisition of property in the Rozelle goods yards was invalid. The Desane Group, whose property was located at 68-72 Lilyfield Road, had taken action. This is a massive blow to the state government. It undermines their future acquisition powers and shows that the government simply does not have its act together.

It follows a series of debacles: the underpayment of residents who had their properties voluntarily or, in some cases, compulsorily acquired; changes to the route and to where the dive sites for the project would be, including the quite extraordinary proposal to have a dive site almost on the grounds of Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus; changes to where the stacks are and a refusal to filter the stacks, unlike what the state government said about stacks for roads near schools on the north shore of Sydney, which should be filtered; and proposals to use parks or ovals for the project. Ashfield Park, Petersham Oval and Blackmore Oval have all been threatened at various times. Good infrastructure requires you to plan first, then get the financing, then start construction. This has happened in the opposite direction. The fact that Infrastructure Australia had this project on its priority list calls into question its processes as well, because it goes neither to the port nor to the airport, which were the objectives of this project.