Monday, June 8, 2015
New Matilda ignores a very large elephant in the room
I always enjoy the bulletins I get from the devious far-Leftists at New Matilda. Wendy Bacon, scion of the old Communist Bacon family, is writing below. The elephant she ignores is the horrendous Sydney traffic congestion. Traffic jams waste huge amounts of time for millions of people -- and anything to relieve it has to be seized upon.
And time is of the essence. Any major infrastructure project is treacle-slow in getting done these days so the way to speed things up is to do things simultaneously rather than sequentially. And that is exactly what the breakfast lady is whining about. If all the paperwork had to be done before anything else happened, the project would be delayed for years. But gumming up the works is what Communists have always aimed at so that motivation is clear here too. If she had her way, traffic congestion in the affected area would last years longer than it needs to
NSW Labor and NSW Greens are calling on the Baird government to halt all forced acquisitions until the business case for its WestConnex motorway is made public, environmental assessments are complete and planning approvals are granted.
This is the opposite to the planning approach being taken by the NSW government for tollway planning.
NSW Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay and Greens WestConnex Spokesperson Jenny Leong are also concerned about potential conflicts of interest involved in WestConnex contracts awarded to engineering company AECOM, revealed by New Matilda last week.
On Thursday, the WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) announced that a Leightons, John Holland and Samsung C&T consortium has been awarded a $2.5 billion contract to build the M4 East tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield in Sydney's Inner West. At the same time, 180 households were being issued with forced acquisition notices.
Other residents learned that they would lose part of their gardens, leaving them living on the edge of the motorway, or that their children would be attending a public school near an unfiltered ventilation stack or motorway portal.
In Sydney's south west, the small community of St Peters has been campaigning since last November against the forced acquisition of scores of homes, which would leave their neighbourhood decimated and its school close to the massive M5 interchange. Residents in Beverly Hills are facing imminent expansion of the existing M5 toll road to within a few metres of their fences and the removal of local open space and vegetation in preparation for a second M5 tunnel.
This massive community disruption is happening without the business case for the WestConnex being completed or made public, or a draft EIS released for either the M4 tunnel or duplicate M5 toll road. Almost nothing is known about Stage 3, which is a tunnel that would link the M4 and M5.
Jodi McKay told New Matilda that "neither the planning process nor property acquisitions should go ahead until the completion and release of the business case". She said the rush to issue the contract and acquire houses was "poor governance" and that "the project should not progress any further until the EIS is released for extensive consultation, which I doubt is what the government has in mind. This government has shown time and time again that they will go out of their way to shut down transparency.”
Greens WestConnex spokesperson, Newtown MP Jenny Leong’s first act in NSW Parliament after becoming MP for Newtown was to call on the Government - in the interests of good governance and financial accountability - to suspend all activity on the WestConnex project until the full business case and Environmental Impact Statement are made public. She told New Matilda that "in the interests of transparency and the public interest, until the business case and EIS is released there must be a halt to acquisitions, exploratory works and construction”.
“The current crash-through approach by Roads Minister and WDA shows a blatant disregard for good planning, the community interest, the health and safety of our communities and our environment. Now the contracts have been signed, what happens if the EIS discovers that there will be dangerous levels of pollution delivered right into residential areas in Concord, Homebush or Haberfield?” Leong asked.