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Greens stand with activists against dud WestConnex project

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 21 Jun 2016

This morning four women opposed to the WestConnex project occupied a house in Ashfield, one of four in that block slated for demolition to make way for the $16.8 million motorway. All four were arrested.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens candidate for Grayndler Jim Casey and Greens candidate for Chifley Eliza James say the project is a scandalous waste of public money that should be used to expand public transport in Western Sydney. 

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said, “Today Mike Baird will sell the state budget as an infrastructure triumph, but by committing $2.9 billion to WestConnex he is backing a dud project. 

“In four years the project costs have blown out from $10 billion to $16.8 billion. No private company is willing to bear the burden of such an absurd project, and so the public are being forced to foot the scandalously high bill. 

“Labor’s hands are not tied – they simply lack the courage to call out failed transport planning, funding and construction when they see it.  

“The truth is that $2.3 billion in federal money is due to be paid after the election, and the government of the day could suspend that payment. 

“The Australian National Audit Office is completing an audit and the Greens have called for all grant and loan payments to be suspended until that audit is complete. 

Greens candidate for Grayndler Jim Casey said, “The community campaign against WestConnex is growing from strength to strength and Labor is getting left behind with the NSW Liberal Government." 

"WestConnex won’t fix congestion – the independent experts have made it clear that in some places it will make congestion worse."

“WestConnex will, at best, save road users 5 minutes of travel time – and for that privilege the public will be charged for years to come in tolls and taxes.

“With Labor continuing to support WestConnex, the Greens are the only parliamentary party who will fight this disastrous toll-road.

"Every day I hear from people who are sick and tired of the Liberal's indifference and Labor's attempt to walk both sides of the street on this issue.

“Albanese has gone out and said ‘not one dollar’ from a Labor government would be put towards the project, while a few days later Shorten confirmed that Labor ‘won’t repudiate any contracts, full stop’.

"There is still $2.26 billion of federal money yet to given to the NSW Government for this disastrous project. If elected I will fight to make sure that money stays in Canberra.

Greens candidate for Chifley Eliza James said, “Western Sydney trains are overflowing. Money needs to be re-directed from WestConnex to affordable, accessible public transport for the Greater Sydney region, not more toll roads that many living out West cannot afford.

“By putting the financial burden on Western Sydney residents to fill the gaps through a toll on the M4 shows the Baird Government is prioritising profits over funding people’s livelihoods. 

“The independent review by SGS Economics & Planning confirmed that Baird’s strategic business case for WestConnex underestimated costs and over exaggerated benefits. 

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