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Gillard irresponsible to speculate on Westconnex toll road

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 4 Mar 2013


Commenting on the Prime Minister's Westconnex announcement, Greens federal transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said it is irresponsible for state and federal governments to be backing this speculative $13 billion motorway project in inner western Sydney, which if built would slug Western Sydney residents and businesses with a $10 billion toll burden.

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been given poor advice. If she wants Western Sydney to be first rate Labor should deliver the same public transport services enjoyed by northern and eastern Sydney residents," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Today's $1 billion motorway promise is straight out of the failed NSW Labor machine election manifesto of using big infrastructure announcements to win votes.

"The Prime Minister's commitment of $1 billion to build the Westconnex toll roads in Sydney's inner western suburbs is a betrayal of the majority of people in Greater Western Sydney, who will be slugged with $10 billion in tolls to profit the motorway operators.

"The Prime Minister has swallowed the line that western Sydney is a car culture and the region needs more roads. Given the choice, many people would catch fast public transport to work. 

"Road builders, bankers and developers will be the big winners with Westconnex," Senator Rhiannon said.

"That last thing the people of Western Sydney need is to pay more tolls for more congested motorways. They aren't crying out for motorways. They want public transport solutions," said Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.

"Imagine if both the NSW and federal government committed billions towards new rail links. Now that would be something the people of Western Sydney could get excited about.

"The NSW Government has committed to Westconnex without any business case or traffic modelling. Now the federal government seems to be going down the same uninformed path.

"The task of moving many more people and a lot more freight around Western Sydney will not be met by building more and more roads. We need a step-change in infrastructure spending for Western Sydney, shifting the billions of dollars now committed to another new toll road into innovative public transport infrastructure.

"The people of Western Sydney don't want pie in the sky announcements for a toll road that might be built in 10 years time. They want faster train and bus services to get to work, both in the city and other major centres.

"The Prime Minister has signed up to Nick Greiner's tunnel vision for Sydney's transport. The losers will be the commuters and motorists in the very suburbs she is claiming to support.

"The only winners out of WestConnex will be the tollway corporations and the financiers," said Cate Faehrmann


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