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Media Release 2013-12-13 — Westconnex

Questions on the Westconnex

1. What are the transport alternatives along Parramatta Road ?
2. How will the WestConnex affect surrounding communities environmentally?
3. Will the WestConnex go the way of other failed road projects and fall into receivership or lack of use?

“Like most tollway the Westconnex is a big financial risk. After a string of multi-billion dollar failures, investors are demanding certainty. So the NSW Liberal government has promised to guarantee profits by methods like availability payments; which disguise state debt as operational payments. The government plans to fund this debt by introducing a distance based toll on the busiest road in the state: the M4 between Parramatta and Homebush. This toll will take millions of dollars out of the pockets of NSW families to pay well connected companies like Transurban, Leightons, & Macquarie Bank. These three multinational companies have been advising the RMS on how to assure good profits from the Westconnex; a project they are likely to win the tenders for.” Said Mathew Hounsell president of the No Westconnex action group called NoW Public Transport Inc.

“The government is also preparing to use its planning powers, its new compulsory acquisition powers, and its taxpayer funded property developer (UrbanGrowth NSW) to replace the houses in the Inner West with apartment towers. We have seen the first of these with a large eight storey complex being planned for the Kolotex site in the middle of single storey Leichhardt. The government has announced their intention to force 25,000 units into the already dense Inner West. From experience we know they will force in even more; we expect apartment towers for at least 100,000 units using land obtained by compulsory acquisition.” said Mr Hounsell.

“The Westconnex plan has clearly been designed to use induced traffic from new apartment towers to fund the tollway. This is clear from the RMS plan to provide only a low capacity peak hour bus lane to Burwood. The Westconnex plan clearly aims to prevent public transport extending along all of Parramatta Rd. With 50,000 new residents moved into the suburbs around Homebush and deliberately limited public transport, they will have no choice but to use the Westconnex tollway. Ka-ching!”

“The residents of Sydney are demanding better public transport. It is time to restore Light Rail to Parramatta Rd. Sydney’s trams carried more people then CityRail does today, and at a profit. State governments have been promising Light Rail along Parramatta Rd for decades; it is time for Barry O’Farrell to deliver.”

“The NSW Government knows and is ignoring the massive increasing demand for trains across the city and especially on the Western Lines which are already at capacity. Ron Christie, Ecotransit, and other public transport experts state that a simple cost-effective program of capacity improvements could unlock an extra 60% on the city’s rail network. Combined with connection to the Parramatta Rd light rail at Granville, Lidcombe, Strathfield and Petersham this would unlock the cities transport, reduce congestion, and for a fraction of the $15 billion cost of the Westconnex.” Said Mathew Hounsell, President of the No Westconnex action group called NoW Public Transport Inc.