Friday, 9 October 2015

Open letter to Tanya Plibersek regarding WestConnex

Recently Tanya weighed in on the WestConnex debate with a post on her website. What follows below is WestCONnex Direct Action's response.

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Tanya, your emphasis on Newtown suggests that the problem is isolated. It's not. The whole project is wrong. It's the central idea of radial motorways into urban centers that needs to be challenged.

Back in 1980, Neville Wran commissioned the Kyeemagh-Chullora road inquiry which concluded as much. You can see an interview with Justice Kirby here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16zL7h2jh-g
Similar studies and experts will tell you the same thing.

By stating "As it stands, WestConnex cannot and should not proceed" you leave open the possibility that WestConnex should proceed in a modified form. Well, that is just a restatement of Labor policy. That policy merely removes stage 3 of the motorway but leaves the M4 and M5 extensions intact. In fact the ALP supports running the M4 all the way into the CBD which is absurd. The approximate cost would probably be only a little less than the current $15 billion. Let's not forget it was Julia Gillard who first funded WestConnex when she did her listening tour of western Sydney:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/west/pm-julia-gillard-pledges-1bn-for-westconnex-project/story-fngr8i5s-1226590150180

It's clear you are not deviating from the party line, in contrast to Jo Haylen or Linda Scott.

You say "Public transport must be a major and integrated part of any infrastructure strategy." That is a total apple-pie statement that no-one would disagree with. The point is to back it up by opposing WestConnex and putting up a detailed public transport alternative, such as community groups like Ecotransit have done. Labor's recent big announcement of federal support for public transport should have included this.

Finally, you deflect attention from Federal support of WestConnex by urging the community to lobby State government. Although clearly State Government undoubtedly plays a major role, it's what you are doing at the Federal level that we are interested to know.

Labor should support the withdrawal of all federal funds for WestConnex and campaign actively against the whole project, particularly in the senate where cross-bench support may get a majority. Labor electoral success in inner Sydney will depend on it.


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