Given the recent revelations concerning the Government's responses to the Russell Review of the compulsory acquisition process, it now is clear that the Premier failed to act on two key reports which were highly critical of the government’s compulsory acquisition process and functioning of the Valuer General's office.
The first dates back to May 2013 when the Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General, chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean was released. This committee made 29 recommendations which included a number criticizing the fairness and openness of the land acquisition process and the functions of the Valuer General’s office, but the government did nothing to make the process fairer.
Mike Baird was Treasurer at this time when the Liberals embarked on hundreds of acquisitions for infrastructure projects including Westconnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the Sydney light rail, knowing the process regarding property valuations by the Valuer General was not transparent and was unfair in a number of ways.
Then in February 2014, the government received the Review from David Russell, SC, which was commissioned in 2012 and included guiding principles on how compulsory acquisitions should be dealt with by government.
Premier Baird admitted today in Question Time that the WestConnex acquisition process has not been ‘anywhere near as good as it should have been’.
The Premier highlighted that he has appointed Michael Pratt, the Customer Service Commissioner in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, to oversee a new process that will ensure that those affected by the Stage 3 acquisitions will get a more generous and caring ‘world’s best practice’ process.Read more
After ongoing calls for an audit of WestConnnex by the public and The Greens, The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the federal funding and concessional loan to WestConnex.
The submission by Senators Janet Rice, Lee Rhiannon and Jenny Leong MP is here.
The objective of this audit is to assess whether appropriate steps were taken to protect the Commonwealth's interests and obtain value for money in respect to the $3.5 billion in Commonwealth funding committed to the NSW Government for the WestConnex project.
The Greens believe that the decision to commit public funds to the WestConnex project was premature and motivated by political gain and that the federal government's allocation of public funds to WestConnex was made without any real impartial or independent assessment according to the proper processes and good governance protocols that were in place.Read more
The government-appointed Administrator of the Inner West Council, Richard Pearson, admitted at last night’s council meeting that his approaches to the Sydney Motorway Corporation have been met with complete intransigence, with the SMC effectively stonewalling Council.
“The SMC has shown clearly that they are not prepared to negotiate in any way on even the most basic issues of resident’s safety. The Administrator stated publicly last night that he was extremely disappointed with their responses, and that in fact so far he’s got ‘nought out of ten’ on Council requests. This is appalling but not surprising,” said Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker.
“Baird’s own hand-picked Administrator is being bulldozed - just like the residents of the Inner West - by this private company, set up by the Liberal Coalition government to ram through the tollroad at any cost and to operate outside the normal planning requirements of local and State government.”
“The SMC has brazenly refused to apply to the RMS regarding Council’s proposal for a School Zone along Campbell Street in St Peters, because it is concerned that this may slow traffic along the street. This shows a shocking disregard for our children’s safety.”Read more
Today’s confirmation of an additional one kilometre of tunnel under Victoria Road, Rozelle shows how planning for WestConnex is a shambles, says Greens Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker.
“This add on tunnel announcement is nothing more than a half-baked response to the traffic chaos that will occur around the ANZAC bridge,” he said.
“The Sydney Motorway Corporation and the RMS know from the traffic modelling that they commissioned for the M4 East, that that the impact on Victoria Road and the ANZAC Bridge would be gridlock with or without the proposed Rozelle Interchange.Read more
Some good news for our community from the Inner West Council regarding WestConnex.
The Inner West Council Administrator has included a major item on WestConnex on the agenda for the 2nd meeting which will be held on Tuesday July 5 at 7pm at the Ashfield Service Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield.
The Administrator’s Minute (see full text below), states that the Inner West Council will formally adopt a position of continued opposition in the ‘strongest terms’ to the WestConnex project, which is in line with the position of the previous three councils, Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt which have been amalgamated.
If you would like to speak on this item you are encouraged to preregister, which will also mean you get a seat in the meeting. You can pre-register up until 2pm of the day of the Meeting, via the Pre-Registration Form. All those who have pre-registered will speak before those that haven’t pre-registered.Read more
A new analysis of the NSW budget reveals the Government's much-promoted "Affordable Housing Fund" is actually being directed to road projects, including the contentious WestConnex tollway.
The analysis was revealed by peak housing body Shelter NSW. It shows that rather than paying for housing, the $262 million fund will pay for roads, with $140 million for a WestConnex off ramp at Lidcombe.
The 2016 NSW Budget brings bad news for public transport, housing affordability, TAFE, the Arts and our environment.
Here are some facts on where our public funds are being allocated.Read more
The largest single Roads and Transport Infrastructure budget item in the NSW Budget is WestConnex with $2.9 billion earmarked this financial year, with nearly $800 million for planning and pre-construction costs.
"The Liberal government is committing billions to the wasteful and polluting WestConnex project but has failed yet again to deliver simple public transport improvements like accessible lifts at Redfern, Stanmore or Petersham railway stations, says Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker.
“The Liberal government is continuing its wasteful expenditure on this destructive 33 km tollroad which won’t solve Sydney’s congestion problems.
With the announcement by the Australian National Audit Office of their intention to audit WestConnex, NSW Greens WestConnex Spokesperson Jenny Leong MP has called for an immediate halt to all work and funding of this controversial project.Read more