Category Archives: WestConnex

ARAG Opening Statement to Upper House WestConnex Inquiry

On behalf of ARAG, I gave the following statement yesterday at the NSW Upper House Inquiry into the Impact of WestConnex:

Alexandria is at the junction of the new M5 and M4 – M5 Link. If WestConnex does not work in Alexandria, WestConnex will not work. The M4 – M5 EIS tells us that WestConnex will not work in Alexandria. Even with the airport gateway, speeds dropped to 20 kilometres an hour by 2033, 7 per cent of vehicles “do not reach their destination”. Without the airport gateway, the network is forecast not to be able to accommodate the forecast traffic demand. The forecast traffic demand caused the computer model to become “inoperable”. The modelling for this project rests on unrealistic assumptions. For example, exit blocking constraints — congestion outside the study area — was removed. The Sydney Gateway was modelled without having a route known. Traffic in Alexandria already crawls. On many streets it is literally faster to walk than to drive. For the WestConnex to work on Alexandria streets, which are already full, they need to carry an extra 60,000 cars a day in an area which is congested and experiencing a rapid increase in population. Funnelling more cars into gridlocked streets is the wrong prescription — RMS knows this; 40 years of traffic research shows this.
The Government is wasting our taxpayer dollars on the wrong solution. This is clear from the WestConnex business case. Why was this allowed to happen? This is what we want from this inquiry. As citizens of this State, we have not been able to find out. The Government has used and abused its powers to keep the project beyond scrutiny. Our submission lists some of the information the public should be able to access, but which has been denied to us. We urge you as the Committee to unearth this information on behalf of us, the citizens and taxpayers of the State, who are watching our health, our houses, our open spaces and our quality of life and our community fabric being destroyed for a project which the Government’s own documentation shows cannot work. The way we calculate costs and benefits is broken. If our democracy worked as a democracy should , with checks and balances, I would not have to be here today.

The full transcript (draft), including questions and answers is available here. The full and final set of transcripts will appear here over time.

There is one more day of hearings, this Monday. Witnesses to appear include Clover Moore, Michelle Zeibots, Dennis Cliche, and more. Hearings are open to the public, and will be streamed live.

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WestConnex – good money after bad.

Credit Suisse, the investment bankers, have done an analysis of the returns that NSW can expect from our ‘investment’ in WestConnex.

They estimate the value of WestConnex at, wait for it, $3.0 billion.

WestConnexValuedAt3Bn.png

That’s including the existing M4 and M5.

The NSW Government has committed to spending $16.8 billion, in order to sell roads that we already owned, for perhaps $3.0 billion.

According to Credit Suisse, if we had just privatised the M4 and the M5 the value would have been about $9billion.

But the cost of every stage of WestConnex exceeds its value.

Having spent billions already, we are now looking at a return of perhaps $3 billion.

That’s $6 billion less than if we had simply privatised the roads without spending a cent on them.

And that’s not counting the money that has already been spent.

What Credit Suisse’s numbers say is that:

  • if we had privatised the roads without spending a cent, we’d have made about $9 billion.
  • If we stop now, and privatise what we have, we’ll make about $9 billion.
  • If we finish the M4, then stop, we’ll make about $8.5 billion (because the returns on building the M4 East don’t cover the remaining cost).
  • If we finish the M4 and M5 and then stop, we’ll make about $6 billion (because the returns on building the M5 don’t cover the cost of completing the M5)
  • If we finish the M4 and the M5 and then build the M4M5 Link and the Sydney Gateway, the returns to the State will be about $3 billion.

And this is on the Government’s numbers, which I promise you, are dodgy.

The actual cost is already higher than the forecast, and the actual benefits are going to be lower than forecast.

Remember, today (Friday) is the closing date for submissions to the NSW Upper House Inquiry.

NSW Upper House Inquiry into the Impact of WestConnex – submissions close Friday

The NSW Legislative Council (the Upper House) is holding an inquiry into the “Impact of the WestConnex project”.

Submissions close this Friday (the 31st).

A draft copy of the ARAG submission is here.

The terms of reference are here. 

Inner West Council has more information here.

We encourage you to make a submission detailing your personal experience of how WestConnex has impacted on you.

You can make a submission directly.

Or there are a number of websites to help you make a submission:

WestConnex Inquiry

The NSW Upper House is holding an inquiry into the “impact of the WestConnex Project”.

The committee will examine a range of issues including the cost of the project, its governance structures, the compulsory acquisition of properties as part of the development, and the project’s relationship with other road projects in Sydney.

Committee Chair Fred Nile said:

‘The NSW Government has invested significant funds in the WestConnex project. This inquiry will investigate the adequacy of the WestConnex business case and the project’s costs, particularly whether this project represents a good investment for New South Wales taxpayers “

Submissions to the inquiry are open until 31 August 2018. You can make a submission here.

You are encouraged to tell the inquiry how the WestConnex project has affected you. Submissions detailing your own personal experiences are informative, relevant and potentially very compelling evidence.

The full terms of reference are here.

 

ARAG meeting, 8 August

Our next meeting will be

  • 7pm, Wednesday, 8 August
  • Alexandria Town Hall, 73 Garden St, Alexandria

We will be discussing:

  • Tanya Plibersek’s WestConnex meeting:
  • The Metro Quarter and the shadows to fall on Alexandria:
  • Ashmore Estate:
    • DA amendment to increase height limits
    • Pile driving impacts on our suburb and our house

WestConnex Forum – tonight

As raised at last night’s ARAG Meeting, the Labor Party is holding a WestConnex forum at 6pm tonight (12 July) at Alexandria Town Hall – Matt Thistlethwaite and Tanya Plibersek will be there to hear you have your say.

 

 

WestConnex snap rally – 12:30 tomorrow (Tuesday)

This just in from Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Every word is true.

This is shocking. Despite the massive community response against Stage 3 of WestConnex, including a phenomenal 13,000 submissions in opposition, the NSW Liberal Government just rubberstamped it.

In protest, a snap rally is being organised at 12.30pm tomorrow outside the NSW Parliament – will you join our community and stand up against this appalling decision?

WestConnex will be a disaster for Sydney – it’s set to increase traffic congestion, make air pollution worse, lock in escalating tolls and create a black hole in our budget. It’s the very opposite of State and City policy to reduce the number of cars coming into our congested city streets.

The fact that they slipped out the press release on a Friday afternoon at the end of the school holidays, just after Anzac Day shows they know this is unpopular, they know the community is dead against it, and they desperately want to avoid scrutiny and responsibility.

Event Details:

What: WestConnex Snap Rally protesting the approval of Stage 3

Where: Outside NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street

When: 12.30pm

Despite the Government’s continued efforts to steamroll community opposition to this project, our community is standing stronger than ever – and I encourage you to stand with the community tomorrow at Parliament House. Please let us know if you can make it by RSVPing to the rally here: https://www.facebook.com/events/441503756280606/