Our Speech Opposing the Construction of Stage 3 of Westconnex

Today the Government snuck through a motion supporting the construction of Stage 3 of Westconnex. The Greens will always oppose this wasteful and harmful project. 


Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:40 :22 ): By leave: I express my serious concern about this motion. I was asked to be less mean in this Chamber so I ask the Government nicely to take a minute and ask itself, "At what point do we take stock and halt the construction of WestConnex?" Originally it was a $10 billion plan but now it has blown out to more than $17 billion plus, which does not include the cost of linking WestConnex to the airport because the Sydney gateway cost is now set outside it. I ask the Government: With the cost increase, at what point does it call a halt, take a step back and review the business case—which is questionable in the first place in terms of the cost-benefit ratio—and say that the cost has blown out too much? The Government needs to stop what it is doing and take a step back.

I ask: How many changes to the original plan have to be made and announced before the Government says what it is building is no longer what it announced or what it was supposed to build in the first place? The Government needs to halt this process and go back and consider the alternatives. The member for Holsworthy said that workers are tunnelling 24/7. I can report that the people of Haberfield, where heritage homes were acquired and demolished at the hands of this Liberal Government, hear them tunnelling 24/7. I assure everyone who is listening to this debate and who wants this project to stop that the Government, by its own measure, is far from building the M4-M5 link. There are no draft design plans, there is no planning approval and, most importantly, there is no funding.

There is a $7 billion cost associated with this tunnel. It will cost more to build than the groundbreaking tunnel that links France and the United Kingdom. This WestConnex tunnel, which will be an eight-lane monstrosity built under the Newtown, Camperdown and inner west, will cost more than the Channel Tunnel. Is that the best use of the New South Wales taxpayer dollar? Is that the best use of public funds to address congestion? At what point will the cost blow out so much that the Government will listen, call a halt to construction and review this crazy tollway?


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