Westconnex in NSW Budget - more favours and money for mates?

Announcements in the NSW Budget regarding changes to state significant infrastructure decisions and commitment of billions of dollars of public money for WestConnex, makes it clear that this Government is more interested in  serving the interests of the big end of town not the community, says Greens WestConnex spokesperson and member for Newtown Jenny Leong.

“WestConnex operates under an accountability smokescreen. No business case, no Environmental Impact Statement, a company with a questionable record being awarded contracts both for construction and assessing environmental risks,” she said.

“The public is being left in the dark – while the WestConnex Delivery Authority and the NSW government continue to sign contracts, commit public money and negotiate deals with their corporate, construction and finance mates behind closed doors.

“Despite widespread criticism of the WestConnex project, and the government’s own modelling revealing the project won’t reduce congestion, the government has poured another $1.7 billion into this projectblack hole.

“We need to know how many millions are being spent on private companies and consultants, and who these companies are.

“The government wants to halve decision-making time on state-significant infrastructure. WestConnex contracts are being signed before there is a publicly available business case or an Environmental Impact Statement. That’s not reducing red tape – it’s irresponsible.

“The growing strength of the community campaign against this tollway disaster, and the lack of good governance and transparency, should sound warning bells for investors that this tollroad is going the way of Melbourne’s failed East-West Toll Link.

“Recently it was revealed that global engineering company AECOM has been awarded six contracts by the WestConnex Delivery Authority, regarding both construction and environmental risk assessment – a clear conflict of interest.

“The same company is the subject of ongoing legal action in Queensland, where more than 650 investors are suing the company for allegedly inflation traffic predictions for a private toll-way in Brisbane.

“We’ve got to ask the question: who is the government actually building WestConnex for? The modelling says it won’t work, there’s significant opposition from the sector and from the community. So far the only beneficiaries are the government’s preferred private contractors.

“The government needs to put the brakes on this unnecessary tollway and put an end to it before it’s too late,” she said.

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