The Greens have launched a fresh bid for a parliamentary inquiry into the toxic WestConnex Project, with Greens NSW Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi introducing a notice of motion into the NSW Legislative Council. (Full wording below).
Greens NSW Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said:
“The inquiry we have put back on notice in the Upper House would put WestConnex under the spotlight and really examine why and how the government intend to build it.
“Last time we attempted this, government struck a deal with the Shooters & Fishers at the last minute to foil an inquiry and avoid public scrutiny.
“In the last parliament the Greens were successful in releasing hundreds of secret papers which showed uncertainty within WestConnex staff and advisers about the viability of the project.
“It’s time to expose WestConnex for what it really is: a polluting toll road that will do nothing to solve congestion in Sydney or make people’s lives better,” she said.
Greens NSW WestConnex spokesperson and MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said:
“No business case, no environmental impact statement, the government’s own modelling says the WestConnex won’t work: it’s time to get to the bottom of this through a parliamentary inquiry.
“We will work across the whole community to build support for an inquiry into WestConnex.
“The lower house will soon debate a Greens notice of motion calling for the suspension of all activity on WestConnex until the full Business Case and Environmental Impact Statement are released.
“The Greens will keep up the pressure in all houses of parliament, in the community and on the streets until the Minister for Roads and the government come to their senses,” she said.
For Jenny Leong: 0433 753 376
For Mehreen Faruqi: 0413 681 482
FULL TEXT OF MOTION TO ESTABLISH THE INQUIRY
1. That a select committee be established to inquire into and report on the proposed WestConnex motorway project, and in particular:
(a) the evidence underpinning the need for WestConnex, including consideration of alternative options, traffic forecasts and its relationship and integration with other existing road systems and public transport systems.
(b) the cost-benefit analysis and business case for WestConnex,
(c) any social, health, economic and environmental impacts of the construction and subsequent operation of the motorway on the community,
(d) the proposed financing strategy for the project, including the viability of completing all stages as well as the proposal to re-toll the M4 Motorway,
(e) the fairness and appropriateness of the property acquisition program, including compensation rates and the necessity of property acquisitions,
(f) the relationship between WestConnex and urban planning, such as Priority Precincts and Urban Growth development plans, and
(g) any other related matter.
2. That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the standing orders, the committee consist of six members comprising:
(a) two government members,
(b) two opposition members, and
(c) two crossbench members, one of which will be Dr Faruqi.
3. That the Chair and Deputy Chair of the committee be elected at the first meeting before proceeding to any other business.
4. That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the standing orders, at any meeting of the committee, any three members of the committee will constitute a quorum.
5. That members may be appointed to the committee as substitute members for any matter before the committee by providing notice in writing to the Committee Clerk, with nominations made as follows:
(a) nominations for substitute government or opposition members are to be made by the Leader of the Government, Leader of the Opposition, Government or Opposition Whip or Deputy Whip, as applicable, and
(b) nominations for substitute crossbench members are to be made by the substantive member or another crossbench member.
6. That a committee member who is unable to attend a deliberative meeting in person may participate by electronic communication and may move any motion and be counted for the purpose of any quorum or division, provided that:
(a) the Chair is present in the meeting room,
(b) all members are able to speak and hear each other at all times, and
(c) members may not participate by electronic communication in a meeting to consider a draft report.
7. That, unless the committee decides otherwise:
(a) submissions to inquiries are to be published, subject to the Committee Clerk checking for confidentiality and adverse mention and, where those issues arise, bringing them to the attention of the committee for consideration,
(b) the Chair’s proposed witness list is to be circulated to provide members with an opportunity to amend the list, with the witness list agreed to by email, unless a member requests the Chair to convene a meeting to resolve any disagreement,
(c) the sequence of questions to be asked at hearings alternate between opposition, crossbench and government members, in that order, with equal time allocated to each,
(d) transcripts of evidence taken at public hearings are to be published,
(e) supplementary questions are to be lodged with the Committee Clerk within two days, excluding Saturday and Sunday, following the receipt of the hearing transcript, with witnesses requested to return answers to questions on notice and supplementary questions within 21 calendar days of the date on which questions are forwarded to the witness, and answers to questions on notice and supplementary questions are to be published, subject to the Committee Clerk checking for confidentiality and adverse mention and, where those issues arise, bringing them to the attention of the committee for consideration.
8. That the committee report within six months of the date of passing of this resolution.