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Speech: Road Infrastructure

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:00): Urban motorways reveal some of the worst aspects of how major parties do politics and the worst aspects of their own transport policies. In Sydney we have this madness of a WestConnex urban motorway project. A 33-kilometre, dirty tollway that would divide Sydney, bring greater air pollution, increase congestion, divide suburbs and rip up bike lanes.

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Estimates: Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (WestConnex)

WestConnex: the Federal Government is providing $1.2 billion in funding, and yet there's so much we don't know. Has the business case been reviewed? Given other motorway failures overseen by Infrastructure Australia, has risk been appropriately addressed? Lee questions key departmental and organisational officials to attempt to answer the murky details around the WestConnex Project, including the recent reform of the WestConnex Delivery Authority to a the private Sydney Motorway Company, now out of reach of Freedom of Information requests. 

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Estimates: Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (WestConnex)

Here Lee questions the acting Auditor-General, Ms Mellor, and an officer of the Australian National Audit Office, Mr Boyd, on possible federal oversight and audits of the WestConnex Delivery Authority. While Ms Mellor does not answer definitively whether WestConnex will receive a federal audit, it is affirmed that a potential audit could only occur after the completion of the audit of Melbourne's East-West Link at the end of the financial year. 

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Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Parramatta Female Factory Precinct)

Lee grills The Australian Heritage Council on proposed developments near the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct that would nullify its heritage status and environmental protections. She queries why the National Heritage List, which the Precinct may or may not be on, will not be released until June 2017. 

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Despite asbestos dangers Labor/Coalition vote down greater transparency on WestConnex

Labor has voted with the Coalition to block a Greens motion calling for greater transparency of the WestConnex tollway project.

"The Greens motion calls for federal Westconnex funding to be withheld until the full business case is made public and proper community consultation and planning approvals are complete," said Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon.

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Motion: Hold off federal funding for WestConnex

In light of serious asbestos and other environmental breaches of the Westconnex project, I move that the Government holds off all current and future scheduled federal payments to the WestConnex project until a full business case is released. 

Senator Rhiannon to move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) the Federal Government is contributing substantial funding to the WestConnex Motorway despite no business case being released,

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The Greens secure Senate support for reversing the NSW Government decision on Newcastle rail line.

The Australian Senate has passed a Greens motion calling on the NSW Government to reverse its decision to truncate the heavy rail line into Newcastle.

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said: "This is the second time the federal Senate has asked the NSW Government to reverse its decision to truncate the heavy rail line into Newcastle.

"The Greens put this motion before the Senate again as the bill to truncate the heavy rail line into Newcastle is before the NSW parliament.

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MOTION: Supporting the reversal of a NSW Government decision on Newcastle rail line.

Senator Rhiannon to move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry has recommended that rail services and infrastructure that have been removed from the Newcastle heavy rail line be immediately reinstated, and

(ii) the rail line closure would be a public transport disaster for the Hunter region and for New South Wales, with patronage significantly lower since services were stopped at Hamilton in 2014; and

(b) calls on:

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