Sep 12, 2018

Constituency Statements – WestConnex – Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Federation Chamber 
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:23): I rise to once again condemn the lack of appropriate planning and the lack of proper community consultation by the New South Wales Liberal government when it comes to the WestConnex project. The fact is that this project will be studied in history as how not to plan a project—a project that began with the recommendation from Infrastructure New South Wales to increase access to the port at Botany by duplicating the M5, as the No.1 priority that they identified.

We now have a road costing $16.8 billion on the surface—but, of course, a lot more than that in reality—which doesn’t go to the port, doesn’t go to the airport and doesn’t go to the city. It is becoming a road to more roads and, what’s more, a toll road which will impose severe financial hardship on people in Western Sydney and other people who use this road.

Half the share of this road was last week, extraordinarily, sold off to a consortium led by Transurban, for some $9.3 billion. It is extraordinary that a road that is still halfway through construction, for which the Rozelle Interchange has still not been approved and properly planned, has been sold off to a private consortium for that price. What that does is ensure that there will have to be compensation for the private owner of WestConnex if any changes are made.

Today we find that the New South Wales government have announced that $2.6 billion will be required to build the Sydney Gateway project from the St Peters Interchange through to the airport. That’s further taxpayers’ money going towards this project. We know that it’s also proposed to have an F6 through to the Sutherland Shire, and a Northern Beaches Tunnel from the Rozelle Interchange, under Sydney Harbour, at the cost of many more tens of billions of dollars, if you add all this up. This is why the planning has been so appalling for this project, with real consequences for all of the people of Sydney.