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.
"The Labor Party joined with the Coalition to block this motion, despite worrying reports that large amounts of asbestos are unsafely stored at WestConnex sites putting the health of local residents and workers at risk.
"It is astonishing that the Labor Party continues to support the construction of the WestConnex motorway in the absence of a publically released business case, and in spite of the problems identified by Infrastructure Australia.
"The huge amounts of asbestos at several Westconnex construction sites have left local residents seriously concerned for their health and safety, especially given there is still no environmental impact statement for the project.
"Local residents have had to take construction monitoring into their own hands. They have reported numerous safety breeches and continue to lobby councils and the state government about patches of semicovered asbestos which threaten to blow into their front yards.
"It is disturbing that the Labor Party has no problem giving the Coalition the go ahead for a motorway which has been planned in secret, funded by a federal government which is not funding public transport projects in Sydney and which is threatening the health and safety of Sydney residents," Senator Rhiannon said.
TEXT OF MOTION:
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that -
That the Senate -
a) Notes that:
i) The federal government is contributing substantial funding to the WestConnex motorway despite no business case being released;
ii) The Environmental Impact Statement for the M4 East Tunnel shows it will be at capacity by 2031;
iii) Hundreds of Sydney residents are already being forced from their homes and irreparable damage would be done to the Haberfield conservation area with more than 50 heritage houses slated for demolition;
iv) Asbestos waste is causing safety concerns at the M5 interchange site, throughout Granville, the M4 East site and at disposal facilities in Erskine Park and Blacktown;
v) Removal of that asbestos waste is continuing without any Environmental Impact Statement having been released;
vi) Local residents have collected evidence that safety regulations are being breached in relation to the removal of the asbestos waste; and
b) Calls on the Government to hold current and future scheduled federal payments to the WestConnex project until the full business case is made public and proper community consultation and planning approvals are complete.