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Labor backs Coalition on $13 billion WestConnex transport disaster

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 24 Nov 2014

In a vote in the Senate Labor has failed to stand up for community opposition to the Westconnex and effectively backed the $13 billion discredited motorway.

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "It is disappointing that Labor did not support community concerns and more funding for public transport in this Senate vote.

"Labor lined up with the Coalition to vote down a Greens motion calling for the government to abandon the WestConnex motorway and put the money saved into improving Sydney's public transport.

"Senior NSW Labor figures are trying to walk both sides of the road on this discredited urban motorway - complaining about the WestConnex in the community, while voting with the Liberals and Nationals in parliament

"Instead of crying crocodile tears to local residents, Labor should take action and dump its support for WestConnex and work with the community and the Greens to stop this billion dollar urban polluter and carbon emitter.

Greens spokesperson for Transport and Infrastructure Senator Janet Rice said: "We know that Tony Abbott is addicted to polluting toll roads, and can't get his head around the huge benefits of improving our public transport.

"Instead of ploughing billions of taxpayer dollars into mega-projects that won't fix congestion - like WestConnex in Sydney, Roe 8 in Perth or the East West toll road in Melbourne - we should be investing in clean, efficient public transport.

NSW Greens MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said: "Labor have been evading the question of Westconnex for the last three years and trying to have it both ways but the community can now see where they stand. The Greens are the only party opposing the wasteful Westconnex toll road.

"The Greens have been working with the community to oppose this ill-conceived $13 billion toll road which will cause more traffic congestion, pollution and environmental damage.
"This money must be diverted to real integrated transport solution.

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I will move that:

The Senate-
1. Notes that:
a. The Federal Government has provided $1.5 billion in funding for the WestConnex motorway plus an additional $2 billion in the form a concessional loan; and that this funding was awarded despite the lack of a detailed business case, including the assumptions behind the project's cost-benefit analysis, being made available to Infrastructure Australia or the public.
b. The WestConnex motorway, if built, will negatively impact residents and commuters across Sydney by increasing traffic congestion and air pollution; and the main beneficiaries of the project will be private businesses who will profit from new tolls while the public wears the financial risk.
c. The Federal Government has not spent a single dollar on public transport projects in Sydney.
2. Calls on the Federal and NSW Governments to abandon their plans to construct the WestConnex motorway and commit to building public transport in Sydney to minimise congestion, improve environmentally sustainability and boost productivity.

Brami Jegan for Senator Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Sam Drummond for Senator Rice 0423 106 247
Matt Hilton for Dr Mehreen Faruqi 0423 106 247


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